Don’t Panic! OK, Go Ahead – Panic!!
THERE ARE SOME THINGS that Mankind should just not tinker with – Forces of Nature that, if disturbed, can have cataclysmic repercussions. It is foolish to think that you can control the weather or the motion of the planets. We have tried to go against Nature with things like The Designated Hitter in Baseball or continuing to bankroll Adam Sandler movies and the results have been appalling.
This morning it happened again. I got up, abluted, dressed, made tea for my wife, the lovely and sound asleep, Dawn, and then I headed off to St. Arbucks. When the young barista handed me my coffee she said something that chilled my soul.
“The Power Company has to work on the transformer on the pole outside, so we are going to be without power. We will be closed for about a half hour.”
“When, for God’s sake? When?” I asked her calmly.
“In about three minutes.”
Why not just try to reverse the rotation of the earth like Superman or rewrite the first season of “Sherlock”? Empty the fish bowl and tell the goldfish to chill out for a half hour. Mess with Texas.
There are some things you just don’t do! Don’t spring things like that on me.
With no other choice I skulked back to the car. I sat there as the lights winked out and a poorly written sign was taped to the door. I sat there and sucked on my straw. It helped me to not hyperventilate.
I had my first coffee. I would survive as long as I didn’t panic-sip and “Empty the Venti.” But what about those other poor souls who didn’t get there on time? I sat there in the car and watched a procession of vehicles pull into the Drive-Thru Lane only to see another sign saying, “Closed. You killed my father. Prepare to die!”
Well, maybe it just said, “Closed for thirty minutes. Sorry,” but after seeing the word “Closed” the rest of it must have looked like a death threat.
In just five minutes I saw about 40 cars and trucks pull in expectantly, and then leave looking dejected and desperate. It was more than I could take.
In an effort to save myself I took emergency measures – I went across the parking lot to Kroger’s and did some shopping. I needed some distraction. I took my coffee with me. I wasn’t going to leave it, visible and unguarded, in the car.
When I had made my pedometer click enough, I “self-checkout-ed” and slowly approached St. Arbucks from the rear. It had been thirty minutes at least. It felt like a week chained to a prison TV showing only Benny Hinn.
The lights were still out. “And darkness came over the whole land.” – Mark 15:33.
It was then I remembered that I had received a call from my pharmacy telling me that they had a prescription refill ready for me. Never was I so happy to get more meds to swallow. I have downed enough Potassium Chloride to perform a dozen lethal injections. And now I was going to pick up another month’s supply. Oh, Happy Day!
This time when I returned to St. Arbucks I could see from a distance that THERE WAS LIGHT, and parked cars, and a long line in the Drive-Thru Lane. Life as we know it had returned.
I wept a little.
I took my last sip from my original coffee and went inside to claim my refill. It was Ambrosia. It was Nectar of the Gods. It was Iced Coffee, a splash of cream, but unsweetened – the way Nature intended.
I wish that they had posted a warning about this shutdown a week or so ahead of time. I could have prepared myself – driven to the Auxiliary Chapel in the south end of town, or taken a sleeping pill to just miss the whole thing.
Plans are already being made to deal with a scheduled two-week shutdown in November when they close for remodeling. So far, the best option for that time is a two week sabbatical to Seattle.