Illustration: Josh Clark
The best-laid plans often go awry, thanks to man and nature.
“Hey, buddy, how was your weekend?”
Seriously? You really want to know? Well, I noticed a tiny honeycomb above the door to my house. I grabbed a broom to knock it away and half a dozen angry wasps flew toward me. I tried to swat them with the broom while flailing around like a whirling dervish—precisely the wrong thing to do, I found out later—and one wasp stung me above the eye. I retreated inside to grab bug spray and came back outside spraying all over the place until the wasps took off. I showed them. Don’t mess with me.
Then I got in my car, headed down the road, and all of a sudden—THWACK! What in the world was that? Did I run over something? No, some clown put his garbage can on the edge of the narrow road and it smashed the passenger-side mirror. I was livid, but what could I do? “Hey, man, your garbage can jumped out in front of my car. Pay up.” Besides, I was late for the dentist.
Of course, there was no need to rush. I sat waiting in the dentist’s office for 20 minutes anyway. They took a full set of X-rays, gave me an exam, but then told me that I couldn’t get a cleaning. “But I made the appointment for an exam and cleaning.”
“Oh, we never do the cleaning on the same appointment. If we schedule a hygienist and the patient cancels, then she sits around with nothing to do.”
Huh? So you inconvenience all of your patients because one might cancel. That’s beautiful. “Open wide, Miss Office Manager, I want to play with the drill.”
I had to pick up a few things at the supermarket. For some reason, the cashier chose not to put a large package of napkins in a bag, as if the package comes with a handle, or it’s just more fun to leave it out so you can toss it around like a football in the parking lot. “So, are you going to put the napkins in a bag?”
“Do you want the napkins in a bag?”
“Well, I’m just curious why you wouldn’t put the napkins in a bag. Is it store policy, ‘No bags for napkins,’ or did you make that choice independently?”
“I can put the napkins in a bag.”
“No, I just want to know what the decision-making process was that led you to not put the napkins in a bag.”
“Have a nice day, sir…”
I needed a drink. So I stopped at the sports bar. The bartender asked for my ID to open a tab even though I’ve been a customer there since the late 1940s. “Are you kidding me? Don’t you know who I am?” I skipped it and had just one drink, and it’s just as well because the bar has 2,653 channels but not the one I wanted. And on one side of me was a conversation about Earl’s big trip to Dayton, and on the other side a group of loudmouths talking about how much they drank at Lulu’s “kick-ass party.” Great, love to hear about it. “You know, Dayton has the largest pine cone ever found. Isn’t that unbelievable?” Yes, Earl, it is unbelievable. Unbelievable that you could imagine anyone ever being interested in anything you have to say.
It was another banner day for Gerbasi—capped by coming home to the delightful buzz of lawnmowers and weed whackers in every single yard in the neighborhood. I heard another type of buzz, too. The wasps had returned and rebuilt with reinforcements, and they were not happy.
Then on Sunday…