A Lucky Day

There was something in the air on Monday morning, something magical. For the first time in a week, the sun was shining as I drove to work. The air was fresh and the sky was an oversaturated blue, and I was feeling uncharacteristically alive and upbeat. “This is going to be a good day,” I said aloud, my left arm hanging out the open window. I had nothing to base it on, and such statements are the things jinxes are made of.

It was a fairly productive morning, despite learning that a job I'd sent to print on Friday night was still backing up the print queue, and by lunch I felt a sense of accomplishment, as well as the desire to get out and enjoy the fresh air. Nearly everyone from work had the same idea, and I couldn't walk down a block without seeing another coworker out for a stroll. I walked a little farther, drawn to the beach I hadn't seen in weeks, and I began to entertain the notion that Something Lifechanging was going to happen. Again, it was just a fantasy with no basis in reality, but I was already viewing events in reverse from a hypothetical point in the future, a future determined by the decisions I made that day.

Did I want pizza? The place owned by mobsteresque guys was across the street, and I was considering getting hot dogs from the sidewalk café up the road. Inside, a teenage girl stared at a laptop, oblivious that a customer was tapping on the counter. In this span of time I opted to walk a little further to the bagel place instead, where I got a salt bagel with roast beef and swiss, some chips, potato salad, and a can of soda for just over five dollars. One hot dog alone was two bucks at the other place.

At the beach, I approached the deck with caution, as there was a maintenance guy walking along the roof blasting the gutters with a hose. It was a miracle he didn't slide on the sloped, shingled, and increasingly damp surface. On the deck, the old dog that hangs around with the maintenance guys eyed my food, but he was a good boy and stayed near his master who was repairing a water fountain. Before I left, I dropped a few pieces of meat on the ground for him to find later. I nearly got drenched walking out from under the deck as the guy with the hose chose that moment to blast a clogged gutter. I doubled back and took a different set of steps back down to the parking lot.

In the afternoon, I went to a meeting and found that no one showed up. A few minutes later, the people I was supposed to meet were outside my office wondering where I was. I guess I should have waited a little longer for them. At the end of the day, one of the supervisors handed me some junk mail and asked why my interoffice slot had my first name but a vastly different last name, let's say, “Sanchez”. I checked the e-mail directory.

“There's no Sanchez,” I told my friend.

“So who's Sanchez?” he asked.

“I'm Sanchez.”

“You're not--”

“I KNOW I'm not Sanchez!”

The conversation might not have been that Seinfeld-esque but it was damn close. I've been there nearly two years and always assumed “Sanchez” was someone else. I wonder how much mail I've missed?

I opted to correct the problem myself, sending a printout of my name to a printer that turned out to be horribly jammed at every possible junction. I followed the instructions on the screen to unfold, slide out, and clear every obstruction, while the woman who's job it was according to the monitor sat quietly in her office. Once I got the printer running, the rest of her 30 pages printed out, and then my name.

Outside, the beautiful day had somehow morphed into a violent thunderstorm. The sun was back out by the time I navigated large puddles to my car, and I was ready to run another five miles at the gym. But the treadmills were all occupied, so I opted for the stair machine instead. I climbed up and placed my water bottle in the machine's holder, which had apparently broken. The bottle fell straight through and struck the ground from a height of nearly seven feet with loud reverberation, causing everyone in the gym to jump. I watched helplessly as my poor bottle bounced, rolled, and ended up under a bank of ski machines, all in use. I couldn't safely retrieve it without further embarrassment or physical harm, but the kid using the machine was almost to the half-hour mark according to his display, so I figured I could discretely get it back once he finished. From the stair machine, I had a good vantage point, so I began to work out.

Twenty minutes later, that damn kid was still going strong. I decided to get on the machine next to his so I wouldn't have as far to go once he did vacate. After twenty minutes on that machine, he was at 65 minutes and still going. I looked heavenward and inquired, “Are you kidding me?” Meanwhile, my neighbor finally looked down and saw the bottle his feet were swinging over. He paused the machine and picked it up, turning it around and looking at it with irritating curiosity, like it was some kind of ancient artifact. “That's mine.” I said abruptly, fearing he was about to drink it or something. I put it in the cup holder of the machine I was on and feigned another five minutes, before heading to the locker room to rinse off the bottle and take a shower.

The day had not turned out at all the way I thought it would in the morning. I had such energy and optimism. Maybe it was the day I was going to meet my future wife, or do some good deed and get a great reward, like save the owner of the beach from falling off a roof. My imagination, as always, was far better than my reality. For two years, someone who didn't even exist was getting my mail and probably having a better life than I was. Thoughts of the day swirled in my mind as I drove along the coast, and my eye caught the sunset. It was an incredibly rich shade of orange, backlighting purple clouds in such a way as to give them amazing depth. It was as though the 3D quality of nature was enhanced, and I knew that even if I had my camera with me, it would not be able to capture what my eye was witnessing. I was in the right place, at the right time, under the right conditions.

“I'm a lucky guy,” I said aloud, my left arm hanging out the open window.


Blogger Lorna said...

You're a talented guy, I said, my bracelets clinking on the keyboard

6/17/2009 8:26 PM  
Anonymous SwanShadow said...

At least you weren't Dirty Sanchez.

6/18/2009 5:09 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home