Essays, Poetry, Observations, Etc.

An Ordinary Day

In change, writing on June 11, 2012 at 10:53 am

It was an ordinary day.

Just another Saturday, truth be told. Another normal day in the otherwise normal life for Bob.

He puttered about and got ready to take on the necessary chores needed to keep his life operating smoothly. He wasn’t particularly happy. He’d just wanted to sleep in. It’d been a long week and work had been difficult, to say the least. He wanted just one day off with nothing to do, nothing to take care of. It obviously wasn’t going to happen today! Nevertheless, he took care of his personal ablutions, showered, dressed, and then spent a few moments admiring how handsome he looked in the mirror. That always made him feel better!

He gathered up his keys and wallet then headed to the door. As usual, the keys and wallet were exactly where he placed them when he had come home the day before. He’d had a brief flirtation with having a maid a few years back, but she had the annoying habit of cleaning things up and moving things. Change. Unnecessary and annoying change. Still, he missed the maid. At least she had picked up his socks and underwear and kept the cats fed.

Change he would leave to the science fiction novels he loved. Aliens, space ships, exploring the universe. Worlds blowing up, the universe coming to an end, and strange beings from another planet showing up on one’s doorstep, these were things that he enjoyed reading about. But actually happening? You have got to be kidding! Given what he knew about the physical nature of the universe, none of this stuff, especially aliens showing up, was ever going to happen! He smiled to himself and walked the 13 steps to his car. Such precision. He could do it with his eyes closed. Even tried it a couple of times. Yep, there were good reasons he did the same things every day. Better still, he didn’t have to pay attention.  Gave him time to think of inportant things, like himself!

He opened the door and slid onto the cracked, but comfortable leather seat of his old Volvo. He’d had the car for 16 years and 237,000 miles. If he was lucky, it would outlive him. It was looking a little seedy, but then, age did that. Maybe he should have the car detailed. He thought about the pros and cons for a moment. Nope, he had better things to spend his money on. That settled, he pulled out onto the street and made his way to the strip center down the road.

He drove along lost in his own private universe. The hustle and bustle of the world swirled around him and yet he was at peace, lost in his reflections, puttering along in the security of his old sedan. He truly was, as he had discovered from his old college philosophy professor, the center of the universe. Everything had a place and he was at its center. And it was a comfortable place. The world always seemed to open up before him, as if expecting him to be there.

He pulled up to the laundry and there, as if they had known he had been coming, was an empty slot right in front of the door. He smiled at the proof of his importance in the universe. He slid out of the car and stood for a moment in the bright sunshine, taking in the beauty of his world. My God, he thought to himself, this truly is the best of all possible worlds!

He turned and took a step towards the laundry. His foot stuck to the ground. Annoyed, he lifted his foot and looked at the bottom of the shoe. Bubblegum! God damned idiotic self-centered cretins, he silently fumed to himself! Okay, maybe sometimes the world wasn’t exactly perfect! He gave a few thoughts as to what he would do if he were dictator and wondered how deep the pit out back of his palace would need to be in order disposing such cretins and make this a better world, at least for himself. Oh, well, he thought to himself as he rolled his eyes. Once again he considered the fact that it was a good thing he wasn’t an old-fashioned King! Absolute power does corrupt and he was probably infinitely corruptible! He laughed and grumbled at the same time while heading to the door. Maybe life wasn’t perfect, but this was just a tiny blip on an otherwise glorious day.

He walked up to the door and, as usual, tried to look in before he pushed it open. He didn’t really like surprises. As usual the lighting was dark and the window so covered with signs made out of vinyl letters announcing hours and prices and the latest sale (which had been going on now for what, oh, the last five years?) He entered and once again found even more proof of his importance in the universe… the shop was empty. No one stood between him and his goal. No waiting for one such as he.

He walked over to the counter as the clerk came from the back room. The clerk asked for the claim check. As usual, Bob smiled and gave the clerk his last name and the number of shirts he dropped off. Claim checks and other such niceties were all very good for the rest of the world. Products of corporate and bureaucratic functionaries whose sole purpose in life was to make sure the world’s paperwork was in order, but completely unnecessary in his own private world. He had discovered long ago that if he was polite, firm, and never retreated from his standard position, he always got what he wanted. It was good to be Bob.

The clerk smiled at him, three long sharp teeth hanging down over a reddish green lower lip. A single yellow eye stared at him for a moment as if trying to decide how to prepare him for dinner. Bob felt uncomfortable. He couldn’t put his finger on it, but something just wasn’t right. However, he couldn’t be bothered with it right now, he was too busy wondering if he’d remembered everything on his shopping list. (Did he still need coffee creamer? Probably, yes.)

The clerk turned, and oozed on his pseudopod over to the rack and, with a graceful flick of a tentacle, lifted the shirts off and carried them back to the counter.

“That will be $5.73, sir.”

Bob fished his wallet out of his pocket, extracted his debit card, and passed it over the counter, still lost in thought. The clerk ran the card through the machine with another flick of his graceful tentacle. Bob absentmindedly entered his pin number, a pin number he was sure was unique in the known universe, such was the security of his place in the world.

The clerk handed him his shirts, its flowing tentacle curled around the hanger’s hooks. The yellowish green tentacle, to be exact, Bob noticed absentmindedly. And with what looks like a very nice gold ring on the end of it. He wondered if it was married as he turned away, carrying his shirts. Another smooth transaction in his otherwise perfect life. As he walked back out to his car and stowed the shirts in the back, something nagging at him, however. Still, it couldn’t be that important, he thought as he closed the door and buckled seatbelt.

As usual, the car started immediately. It was such a good car. Indeed, it was such a good life!

He pulled out, made his way through the near empty parking lot, and out onto the street. A glorious street lined with oak trees, but maybe a few too many birds. He was going to have to wash his car again!

He paused to consider his morning when something that had been nagging at him in the back of his thoughts suddenly came to the forefront of his brain.

Three inch teeth? Red green lips? Tentacles? Yellowish Green Tentacles!?!?

His brain locked up. Didn’t last long though for he proceeded to slam into an SUV stopped at the light. Time seemed to go into slow motion. He reflected rather dispassionately that the SUV was by all rights was far too large and far too imposing to be completely legal.  Ought to be a law, he thought, at least there would be if he were in charge!

For a brief, shining moment he sat looking peacefully at the disaster before him. He did a quick check. He was safe. The airbag hadn’t gone off, but it hadn’t been needed. The front end of the car was damaged, but not too severely. He could probably fix it. The insurance company would tell him that it was totaled given the value of his old car. He didn’t care. It was his baby, he’d fix it.

The SUV before him looked like its bumper would need replacing and there was a bit of plastic trim that was hanging off. That pissed him off a little. Their bumper had missed his bumper completely and taken out his headlamps and his lovely grill work.

He sat quietly for a moment, centering himself, preparing for the confrontation that was going to inevitably occur in just a few minutes between the two drivers.

The world suddenly came to a crashing halt again.

Three inch teeth? Red green lips? Tentacles? Yellowish green tentacles!?!?

Many things ran through his brain. Was he dreaming? Was his firm grip on sanity finally slipping? Was somebody playing a really bad practical joke? Was he even on the right planet? He glowered to himself. Nope, he was on the right planet and his sanity was rarely in doubt, so this had to be a dream or a joke. Time enough to consider this later, he thought.

He glanced back at the car in front of him. The door opened and the driver got out.  A seven foot driver!!  And three eyes, the center one staring at him!!! He kept looking at the impossible scene, trying to find some bit of normality in it. Ah, yes, a tentacle was holding a drivers license and proof of insurance!

Tentacle?  His brain quietly imploded.  Then reformed, albiet briefly.

He quietly sighed to himself, his disbelief turning to quiet resignation. Nope, he didn’t like change. He loved his routine. He loved the fact that he was the center of the known universe.

Except today his universe changed.


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