Sunday, November 17, 2013

Pétage de Câble (A.K.A. Operation: Coffee Crash)

The Pétage de Câble starts off with a minor incident which is then followed by a series of relatively innocuous annoyances. The catalyst incident could be, say, having your trusty MP3 break down in the middle of your workout which, as innocuous annoyances dictate, forces you to listen to the crap the gym blasts on their speakers for the whole time.

Mildly dejected with the realization that you now need to invest in a new technological device, you instantly feel remorse over the whole set of Harry Potter DVDs which you now deem to be a frivolous purchase. You resign yourself to go home and check out what the store has to offer the following day.

Of course, once you do get home, the fatigue of having exhausted your muscles in the gym crashes on you. You are so tired that you contemplate skipping dinner altogether to go straight to bed. You choose to eat a salad anyway.

After dinner, you are gladdened that you have the rare occasion of going to bed early. Judging from the time (eleven o'clock), you even have the delightful idea of waking up early the following morning. Your body clearly indicates that it needs a proper night's rest. You slide underneath the warm, comfortable duvet and wait for slumber to hit you immediately, still clutching to the hope that you will be relaxed and fully energetic the next day.

Except your brain has other ideas.

Rather than going to bed early (at eleven), your mind wills you to stay awake for several hours, and your body is helpless to its demands. Finally, at 3:30 a.m., the brain caves in and allows you to get some rest.

However, this rest comes in erratic intervals. Throughout the night, rather than granting you the full time to sleep until the alarm is supposed to ring, your eyes snap open and they immediately rove around the room. They see the time. The alarm is supposed to go off in two minutes. The alarm goes off.

You rebel and hit "snooze." One hour later, regret sinks in and you feel like a failure for not having woken up in time. Your limbs slide off the bed. Your feet touch the floor. You stand up.

Your arms hang limply to your torso while its heavy weight is likened to that of a bag of rocks. With the slight headache throbbing at your temples, you know instantly that in your current state, you are going to have a bad day.

Still, you attempt to make the most of your day and opt to look nice for work. For your attire, you choose something of your liking. You decide on a delicate, cream-colored top and go to work.

Throughout the day, the headache and fatigue persist. Not wanting to seem like a whiny, namby-pamby to your colleagues, you keep your predicament to yourself. For some reason, your body has also been set to "heightened klutz mode" which causes you to drop everything you touch. You try to cheer yourself up with the notion that at the end of the day, you will go to the store to replace that broken MP3 with a new one.

The morning doesn't seem to end.

Suddenly, it's lunchtime. You are hungry and are ready to scarf down the first thing handed to you. The food item happens to be served in a greasy red tomato sauce. Worried about ruining your delicate, cream-colored top, you are mindful about not letting a single speck of sauce make look like you are sporting the Japanese flag. Scarfing food is no longer an option. Mood slightly improved after lunch until the stress of work takes over. During one lesson, an impertinent student interrupts the lesson to ask if you are attracted to members of the same gender. You suppress the puerile urge to throw the student out the window.

By the end of the day, despite your best attempt to keep a smile on your face, the harbored combination of exhaustion, headache, stress and general foul mood has gradually grown and is at risk at exploding any second. You leave your workplace and head for the store.

You check out the MP3s and choose the one that calls out the most. It just so happens to be behind a glass display case that can only be accessed by an employee who wields a key. You approach the nearest vendor and ask to have the display case be opened. Said vendor promptly informs you that their colleague is the one who can open the case and asks you to wait patiently for them to return.

You agree to wait.

You wait two minutes. Then five minutes.

You see a gentleman approach you and your spirits soar. He walks past. You sigh and resign to wait some more. The man comes back, makes eye contact with you, yet says nothing. You continue to wait by the glass display case.

After fifteen minutes, you approach the man.

"Excuse me," you begin, "are you the one who can open the display case so I can buy an MP3?"

"Yes. Right this way, please."

A tirade of profanity-laced diatribes scroll through your head as the man, in fewer than a minute, retrieves the MP3 you want and leads you to the checkout counter.

Before going home, you feel that you are in desperate need of a pick-me-up. You enter the neighboring bar and question the bartender if they have hot chocolates.

They don't.

You ask if they have Irish Coffees.

The so-called bartender has never made an Irish Coffee before. What else would you care for? A large café au lait, you reply. You slump your tired body into a plushy booth and wait for the beverage to come. It eventually does. You thank the bartender.

Your cold hands grasp unto the mug.

The really hot mug.

The really hot and heavy mug.

It slips out of your hands.

The contents spill on your jeans.

And on the delicate, cream-colored top you had so carefully protected from red sauce at lunchtime.

If you weren't in public, surrounded by strangers, your reaction would have probably been like this:

Instead, you sop the lukewarm liquid, drink whatever is left in the mug, pay, then walk home.

As if the weather also wanted to get in on the action of spiting you, it begins to rain.

When you finally do get home, you have the rather unpleasant surprise that someone, somehow, managed to slip your dirty welcome mat underneath the front door.

This normally wouldn't have been much cause for concern, and yet, after having an MP3 device stop working, after not having had a proper night's rest, after having to work the whole day sustaining a splitting headache, after being ignored by a salesclerk, and after having a nice top be RUINED when you had tried to protect it earlier on, seeing the amount of dirt and dust that had trailed onto the spotless floor that you had cleaned merely a day before was the fucking last straw.

But this is certainly not "the drop which overflowed the vase."

That is when you experience the dreaded "pétage de câble." The pent-up rage harbored in your being explodes upon ignition. Hot lava streaks down your cheeks as you holler and howl like an unruly two-year-old.

Then, as quickly as the anger had come, it subsides. It's over.

You decide to eat dinner. Perhaps you'll have another salad like last night. You open the fridge.

The lettuce has spoiled overnight.

Sodium-drenched ramen noodle soup is a better option on a cold night, anyway.

Barb the French Bean