Friday, October 31, 2014

How Pringles Almost Became the End of the World


I hope everyone enjoys celebrating the best holiday of the year! Still need a costume idea? How about dressing up like this dashing fellow to the right?

In some positive book news, "Life is a Pirate Ship Run by a Velociraptor" did make it to the top of Goodreads' "Chick Lit for the Misfit Girl" list!

So a couple weeks back I was sick.

How sick was I? I had a fever that made me delusional enough to think I was talking to both Agatha Christie and Hugh Jackman over tea (the tea was non-existent as well, mind you).

I spent an entire week in bed unable to move because every time I tried to stand for more than about thirty seconds I had a chance of blacking out and waking up an hour later hugging my coffee table. (I don't know what my coffee table thinks our relationship status is now. I'm just not bringing it up and hoping that it doesn't bring it up either.)

I couldn't eat, could barely drink and spent most of my time sounding like a pug with sleep apnea. 

After three days of a water and two-whole-Saltine-crackers diet, I finally had my first craving for food and it was more powerful than the Death Star's tractor beam. I wanted... No, I NEEDED sour cream and onion flavored Pringles.

 Now keep in mind, this is really a strange craving. I rarely eat potato chips and never buy them for my own consumption. But that day I would have mugged a granny for a can of preservative laden potato crisps.

I couldn't drive. Heck, I could barely walk.

Of course, I had friends who probably would have happily dropped my food craving by, but they were all at work. I was finally hungry for something, and that, in my fevered and exhausted brain, needed to be solved now.

My rather addled mind somehow remembered that there was a convenience store on the first floor of my apartment complex. You know the type of place, they sell random items at a two-hundred percent markup? 

This was day five of my illness, and I had managed to shower twice, change my shirt three times and I had given up entirely on the concept of pants. I did not even have enough energy to try to beat my hair into submission long enough to get it into a ponytail. 

Yet I decided that I was going to get to that convenience store come Hell or high body temperature. Like Hercules tackling his twelve labors I began the task of putting on enough clothing that I wouldn't get arrested for indecent exposure.

First, I put on a shirt that lacked a giant red Gatorade stain from the times I had fallen asleep while trying to drink in the previous days. This took ten minutes as the many holes of the shirt continued to confound me more than German Existentialism confuses a duck.

Then came the pants. I got one leg in all right, but then found I had absolutely no energy left to put my other leg in. I sat there on the edge of my bed staring down at the half on pants, willing myself to just move in the correct order of motions to complete the task at hand.

It was only the thought of sour cream and onion Pringles that made the task doable. After another ten minutes, I had pants on.

I fought my way into a jacket and grabbed my keys and a five dollar bill. Giving up on socks entirely I opted for the commando approach to my skater shoes.

Finally, wearing legally enough clothing, I made it out the door of my apartment.

Technically, I made it out the door and made immediate friends, face first, with the wall across from my apartment door.

That wall and I stayed close buddies as I basically leaned on the wall and walked/slid my way towards my next obstacle; the stairs.

I stood at the edge of the great precipice, looking down the one flight of stairs that on that day seemed about as easy as a trek down the side of Mt. Everest on roller skates. It's really good that the railings in my building were apparently made for gymnastics routines, as I half walked, half lowered myself down one stair at a time.

The convenience store was out the door and around the corner. By the time I entered the small shop, I already felt like I had just fought off the minotaur using nothing more than a box of Cracker Jacks and a Monopoly board.

 Squinting around the small shop I saw a spot that seemed to be the 'salty snacky things' section, and launched myself in a staggering trajectory towards it.

I stood there, swaying like the palm trees in a Jimmy Buffet song, blinking at the chips shelf. There were canisters of Pringles lined up; original, barbeque, cheddar-cheese... No sour cream and onion.

There was a gap on the shelf in between a couple of the flavors, the tag below identifying that this was the spot where once the Holy Grail had rested.

I had faced the struggle of getting clothed and making the journey with the kind of bravery and determination of an Olympic athlete, and now here I was bereft of my gold medal.

My fever had again climbed to a triple-digit number and all four of my remaining brain cells could not comprehend the unfairness of the situation. My eyes began to tear up.

That is when the poor store owner found me, the most pathetic version of Cousin It he had probably ever seen, about to lose my composure and what was left of my mind over a missing can of chips.

"Can I help you find something?"

I looked up at him, the sweat from the fever matting hair to my face, my face pale and gaunt and my bottom lip trembling. I lacked the energy, or in fact the working brain matter, to ask for what I was looking for, I simply pointed.

The store owner looked at me for a second and asking, "You sick?"

I nodded, still pointing.

"Ah," then he looked down at the shelf, "Oh, are you looking for some sour cream and onion Pringles? I might be out. How about one of these other flavors?"

My bottom lip quivers got bigger and he quickly finished with, "You know what, never mind. I might have some in back!"

He dashed off, obviously worried that I was going to die in his shop and he would have to explain to my friends and relatives that it was all because he had failed to produce chips fast enough.

I heard the sounds of boxes being ripped open, things being shifted and even a few thuds. After a few minutes, a dust and sweat covered store owner came out panting, "I found one!"

 I mustered a muttered, "Thank you," as I paid for the last can of Pringles.

The store owner just looked down at me, as I stood there, swaying and holding the chips close to my myself like Linus and his security blanket, "Well... umm... don't die?"

Nodding, I slowly turned, resetting my next trajectory in the general direction of the door.

I hugged the can of Pringles close to my chest the entire return journey, apparently afraid that in my feeble state some hooligan might come and steal them in the ten yards back to my apartment.

I gave up attempting to walk up the stairs, instead half crawling, clutching the can in one hand and using the other to help propel myself upwards.

I don't entirely remember how I made it down the hall back to my apartment. I'm sure walking was involved at some level, but judging by the bruises I found later, it was a safe bet that the wall had to help me at certain points via solid reinforcement.

By the time I got my apartment door open I was way past feeling woozy. I felt like someone had drugged me with chloroform prior to hitting me on the noggin with a sledgehammer. 

I walked out of my shoes, my jacket dropping to the floor behind me in a little trail of victory to my bedroom.

Still fully clothed, I plopped face-first into bed, my arm still holding my precious Pringles out beside me. My epic journey was complete, I had succeeded in my quest.

Lying there on my bed, my tiny feet dangling over the edge of the mattress, I fell asleep.

I woke up some seven hours later, the unopened can of Pringles still clutched in my hand. I slowly turned my head, popped the top of the can, and proceeded to kind of half shovel some of the chips into my mouth.

Indignity never tasted so good.

So what lessons can be wiped from the brow of experience?

1. If you're so sick that pants become too difficult of a puzzle for you, it's probably not a good idea to attempt to leave your home.

2. If you want excellent customer service, make your hair look like you spend much of your time sticking forks into light sockets and start to cry over very small issues like a missing chip flavor. Boy howdy will you get some awesome help then!

3. Sometimes we don't make the greatest decisions when we're sick. It's unfortunate that another side effect of being ill is that we can't judge when we are making those terrible decisions.

If you want to see the kinds of things I do when I'm not sick, come find me on FacebookTwitter and Goodreads

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