I should have stood in bed

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(Host) Commentator Willem Lange had one of those days recently that you wouldn’t wish on anybody.

(Lange) In October 1935 Joe Jacobs had a day like this one. He was sick in bed, but got up to go to the sixth game of the World Series in Detroit. Joe bet a bundle on the Cubs to win. Naturally, it was the Tigers in six.

My day began at a quarter past five, with the dog whining next to my ear. The room was freezing. I dressed, filled the humidifier, stoked the furnace, pulled on a jacket. The dog and I fired down the driveway for the paper.

No paper. I stood in the cold, still air, listening. Nothing. Back up the driveway; coat in the closet. I addressed the lump in the bed. “I have a meeting at seven. You want coffee?”

“No, tea, please.” I put on the kettle. While it heated, I read a New Yorker article about weapons of mass destruction. Ten minutes later, still no steam. I’d turned on the wrong burner. Good thing I didn’t have the paper. I’d’ve set it on fire. Took Mother her tea, left for the meeting.

Quarter past seven, he still wasn’t there. Huh! Did I have the right restaurant? Checked my notebook. Yep, right restaurant. Wrong day. This was getting to be like prosecuting corporate fraud: just one frustration after another.

What next? Well, the truck needed snow tires. If I was near the front of the line, it shouldn’t take too long – just a lot of money. I was half-right. It took a lot of money and two hours. When I peeked into the shop once, two mechanics were sitting beside my truck on stacks of tires, having a chat. Unwilling to disturb them, I retreated to the waiting room and glowered at the receptionist.

On my way at last, I checked my list. “Gas and car wash,” it said. I pulled in for gas. The guy ahead of me was either reading a novel under his hood or replacing his engine block. I tried to leave, but there were vehicles behind me. Finally, over to the car wash. Sign said, “Attendant will be with you shortly.” But long after shortly, I saw a much smaller sign: “Sorry, we’re closed.” I headed for the post office. Mail wasn’t out yet, but at least when I got home, the paper was there. I walked into the house and said, “I know what you’re thinking. Don’t ask.”

What a day! and it wasn’t even lunchtime yet. A note on the kitchen counter read, “Please complete work promised weeks ago.”

For brevity’s sake, I shall draw the curtain of discretion over the afternoon: just one frustration after another. Finally, in the only real success of the day, I sipped a Jamieson’s on the porch and watched the sun sink behind the bare trees. As Joe Jacobs observed back in 1935, I should of stood in bed.

This is Willem Lange in Etna, New Hampshire, and I gotta get back to work.

Willem Lange is a contractor, writer and storyteller who lives in Etna, New Hampshire. He spoke from our studio in Norwich.

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