(Or: Trick or Treat III, but I didn’t want the title to be too long.)
I: The Chair
Yesterday afternoon, I was about to go downstairs to get my mail, when I opened the door, stepped halfway outside and immediately saw some monsters in the hall about 15 feet away. I calmly walked back inside, shut the door and shook my head, then got a bottle of cold water from the refrigerator and took a seat on the couch. The TV was on and it was the usual news of the day, all bad all the time, of late. It was going to be a long wait before I went back outside again.
Okay, so it wasn’t ‘real’ monsters at all and no real monsters like you see in the movies actually exist no matter how good the film is. But there was a young guy sitting in a chair in that hallway getting his hair cut by another older guy who was standing up, and no, the guy doing the cutting didn’t have six foot long arms, either.
When I sat down, I shook my head again, then laughed for maybe a good two minutes. What came to mind at that point was this:
(Thanks, Edge of the Fringe!)
While I’m no longer a religious person, I found myself after decades away once more thanking a Carpenter for bringing me some mental solitude for a moment, ha and ha. Still, it’s a very good thing I’m not prone to violent behavior and I choose not to be stupid about stuff like this. There might have been a fight if I was angry enough, but I don’t have the feeling this would have been the result of the battle:
With all of us here temporarily trapped inside save for shopping trips or other essential duties, I let a lot of things go these days. But I still take mental notes from time to time when I see things that irk me. Look, people are alike all over (as the old Twilight Zone episode title goes). It’s not that I can do much about them, being one of those people and all, but it’s nice to know who you can rely on if things get any crazier. People doing irresponsible things that may adversely affect others? Well, that’s right at the top of the list, especially if it’s a necessary service done where it shouldn’t be done.
Which reminds me: If someone ever does another modern remake of The Shining, there has to be a cut to a shot of Jack Torrance staring wide-eyed at two guys in the Overlook Hotel hallway where one is getting his hair cut and the other is the one doing the tonsorial duties. Which one should be headless is anyone’s guess. I laughed again, this time at that thought of another remake of the book (as I should, of course).
It took about two and a half more hours of watching TV and listening to the buzzing of assorted electric clipper blades, plus plenty of door-muffled chatting and (surprise!) a few coughs (wonderful) before I was able to venture downstairs around just after 7 this evening. Guess what?
There was no mail…
II: Signs of Life (More Monsters)
When the elevator came up, this was waiting for me, lurking on the wall:
Now, I don’t know about you, but in that head-shape headscape I saw either Boris Karloff as Frankenstein’s Monster or that first zombie in Night of the Living Dead in that image and let me tell you, I laughed my fool head off all the way down in that bloody red lift that got me a lift as it went downstairs to no mail in the mailbox.
I guess I do need to get outside more, but where to go is quite limited and hell, I don’t want to walk in a line with a six foot radius that looks like the least fun Soul Train line ever. I’m starting to think that Oscar Madison is my spirit animal sometimes, if those creatures ever existed. I do like the concept of the spirit animal, at least the ability to sort of cosmically, comedically or cosmetically channel oneself though shared experiences.
III: The Wrong Box(es)
Last week, I received a pair of large FedEx shipped packages tied together with white plastic bands dropped off at my door. While they had the same address and apartment number, it wasn’t my name on the two boxes, one of which was labeled “Medical Supplies” on a few sides. Cue the spooky music… or maybe a nice detective-like theme, actually. I had a mystery to solve and the clock was ticking.
I first called the recipient’s phone number printed on the top box and after three rings, got a woman on the other end on the line, which was good for me, I thought at first – problem solved. But she spoke no English other than “Hello?”, which was no tan buena for me at all. Even though I took about ten years of so of grade to high school Spanish, I hadn’t used it outside of classes at all, and unlike riding a bike, you tend to get less good as you age about picking things like this up again.
In the meantime, my brain had decided on some appropriate theme music for the next task at hand:
(Thanks, The Rap Sheet!)
My next move was to go to the FedEx website where I thought I’d get fast and simple assistance via an online assistant, but it was like a robot-filled ghost town as the automated responses I was getting were looping me around like a kite in a stiff storm and my queries were met by a cheery and obviously fake online presence who was intent on having me call customer support. So I did, looking at the clock and adding about 15 minutes because I spent about that much time or more on the website.
Let me tell you this, folks. If there’s a hell, it has the same looping light jazz muzak playing that’s bound to make you confess to any sin and get to the brimstone shoveling and Sisyphus boulder pushing just when all you wanted to do is see if your mean Uncle Charlie was still roasting there like a stuck pig for all his un-pleasantry toward one of his many wives the others never knew about. Coincidentally, I once heard that if there’s a heaven, they play the exact same music when you call, but on a faster loop just to get you to pray hard that it stops and yes, they’re all happy up there about that. By the way, I first heard a variation on that joke from a priest many years ago in a bar in Boston.
(Thanks, Samuel Helgabond!)
No dear reader, I did not touch the boxes, as they weren’t mine and I was concerned those medical supplies were needed by whomever placed the order. By the time someone live finally answered the phone and I had to carefully explain what the problem was, 146 minutes had passed, which coincidentally was the original running time of The Shining, which I mention because one time a mail carrier who wasn’t the regular one we’ve for many years came up to deliver a package for me and noted that the red elevator reminded him of the film for some reason. Shrug.
After the weekend, a phone call from FedEx came Monday and a woman on the other end of the line re-took my information and said there would be a truck sent out at some point, which was good, as I was imagining part of some old commercial in my head by then:
Seriously, though. I was a bit worried by that point. But as I had NO idea where the person actually lived and it wouldn’t be smart to be walking around with 12+ pounds of whatever medical supplies were in those boxes anyway, so they sat here untouched. well, until I want to make lunch and the buzzer buzzed away. A FedEx driver came up with a load of packages, there was one for me and he asked if I had a pickup. Believe it or else, I actually was going to say no, but I realized he meant those two boxes near the door and yes, he took them away. I’d like to imagine somewhere a Spanish version of these events is being blogged about, but enough stories for now, as my poor brain is tired from yesterday’s weirdness and it’s off to bed for me.