Ding! Floral Department… 201…

I went to a mandatory fire training class at the hospital today.

At the beginning, the helper-lady-whoever-she-was was trying to turn down the lights, to dim the conference room enough to easily see the PowerPoint presentation, but not so much that we’d all fall asleep. She was trying to get it just right, and was jabbing at a bank of light-switches. So:

Down go the lights… too far.
Up come the lights… then…
Half the lights go off.
Up come the lights again, slowly, slowly…
And all the lights go off.

And I went from  mildly amused, to decidedly annoyed, to completely enraged in about 10 seconds.

I was right in the front row, and found myself muttering aloud, “Oh my god! Figure it out! It isn’t that hard! Just – find someone competent! What’s the matter with you?”

And I immediately recognized irrational problematic hormones and took a deep breath. I sat there patiently, willing myself to stay in control, enduring the interminable up-and-down of the lights, until she was happy with the settings.

“There we go!” she giggled to us as she flitted off to the side of the room. I glared irritably after her.

Sheesh, Carol. All this feeling over lights.

Luckily, the guy was very animated and entertaining. Plus, he set himself on fire.  It was disturbingly satisfying, as a crazy perimenopausal woman, to watch a man set himself on fire, to see flames leaping up from his lap. I had a sheet in my hands; I was there to demonstrate how to quickly and safely put out the fire. But he was pretty much at my mercy, wasn’t he?

I could have done that all day. The fire part, not necessarily the putting-out part.

I leave the class grinning and relaxed.

I drive to the store, to do a little grocery shopping on my way home. And while browsing in the produce department, I hear an overhead page:

Ding! Floral department … 201…

Floral department evidently has a phone call. I place some bright yellow bananas in my cart, wander away…

Ding! Floral department … 201…

A prick of annoyance. Answer your phone! But I calmly and maturely select a nice bunch of leafy green lettuce.

Ding! Floral department … 201…

I start glaring around. Oh my god! Who’s in the floral department! Answer damn line 201! I rummage through the oranges, a bit roughly.

Ding! Floral department … 201…

I swear, I want to scream. Scream! Where the fuck are they in the floral department? If they don’t answer their phone, like right now, I’ll… I’ll….

And I stand there in the produce department, breathing heavily, fists clenched.

I wait tensely for the next ding, and wonder what I’m about to do. Explode? Start shrieking? Sweep all the tomatoes off the display rack in a hysterical rage?

They all seem like reasonably good options to me. Anything to get someone’s attention, make that noise shut up.

I feel pretty confident that flinging ripe tomatoes around the store will get someone’s attention.

Luckily, there are no more dings. Someone had answered the phone. Crisis (including a very embarrassing event for me, likely culminating in an arrest) averted.

Sheesh, Carol. All this feeling over a page!

These hormones are exhausting.

And where was that fire guy when I really needed him? I could have used him right then.

There’s nothing like a man setting himself on fire to instantly improve the mood of a crazy perimenopausal woman.

5 Comments Ding! Floral Department… 201…

  1. Janet Powers-Gray

    Why didn’t you say something I was sitting right next to you during that fire training and as a post menopausal female I would have happily joined in snickering and making inappropriate jokes at the expense of the light lady.

    1. Carol

      I fear any more muttering or inappropriate jokes on my part would have escalated into wild hysteria, and we would have been thrown out!

  2. Karen Gake

    Oh Carol…it was this very email that inspired me to challenge you to write like Erma Bombeck did…I remember reading this and laughing so hard tears were streaming down my face…your writing has the quality of making me visualize you in that very moment! You crazy, crazy girl…I just love you! (your partner in craziness…well, let’s just say I love watching you go crazy) Karen 🙂

    1. Carol

      I’m delighted you so enjoy me going crazy! Next time I’m flinging ripe tomatoes around a store, I’ll shriek, “Karen said I should do it! Karen said so!” Okay? And you can bail me out of jail afterwards. *grin*


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