It was one of those ho-hum kind of days when everything moved in extra slow motion. I was working in one of those offices where there were designated periods of work. While a college admissions office maintains a steady flow of paper traffic, free online app week at cfnc.org and deadline dates provide hours of monotonous data entry. Let me not dismiss the inevitable I-didn’t-get-into-the-school-I -wanted and my-mama-said-I-gotta-get-out-of-her-house periods that provide additional piles of paper on my desk, the chair in front of my desk, the leave a note box on my door and the window sill.
It was during one of these eras of unorganized chaos that the day was interrupted by what sounded like a herd of thunderous wildebeests stampeding in unison outside my window. It was in fact the tumbling spiral of the locksmith who failed to respect the power of the ice on the metal stairs. Her epic descent left her sitting on the final step in disbelief, pain and embarrassment. As she rose and steadied her wobble feet she looked around like we all do, confirming that there were no witness to her plunge.
Behind the bars, the glass, the window plants, my co-worker and I muffled our outbursts and fought back tears as she limped back to her van and drove off, undoubtedly for some pain reliever and a heating pad. I hate to admit that I too have moments of schadenfreude (if you did not click for definition you are either very smart or fake reading). At that moment, one thing could be confirmed-no one was being admitted for the rest of the day.
On our return from lunch where we choked on tacos and refried beans over a four-dollar plate at our favorite little Mexican spot, we found that the van had returned to the scene of the dive. I clasped my chest as my colleague reenacted the plunge in that indiscreet tone that has often forced us to remind her that she is missing a whisper button on her vocal remote.
Upon rounding the brick wall that contained our offices, there stood the locksmith at 6 feet 2 inches and about 250 pounds with her hands on both hips and a gaze that would have sent a lion running like a gazelle.
“Is ya’ll laughing at me?”
I dedicate this post to PD and her deer-in-the-headlight-glance that makes me look twice before ever talking about someone who may be just around the corner and to the locksmith who did not punch PD in the mouth after I walked off and left her holding the bag!