Of Larvae and Vomit

big pile of candy cornPerhaps every day comes with its own set of expectations–if we’re looking forward to a particular event, those expectations are probably higher, and conversely, if we are dreading something on the calendar, well, one won’t ask for much from that day. We may have most or least favorite days of the week. There could be influences mediating our expectations more generally, like fighting through depression or riding a high from a recent success. If I were a master mathematician, I would write out an equation to explain these shifting thresholds, but I think we all know I balk at calculus. Actually, I can barely spell “calculus.” It’s not an easy word to type on a standard QWERTY keyboard.

This Monday really didn’t have much of a chance, as I knew I’d be saying goodbye to my mother and stepdad after their visit to our home. The shared birthday celebration last weekend, recreational board game quality time, wine tasting tour, and US Open Tennis Tournament cheering was all coming to an end, so really, September 10 didn’t stand a chance.

Even by the anemic standards set for today by my personal immediate past, Monday fell far short.

Yes, the family photographs on the front lawn in the early morning sun–under our weeping birch tree, Susanne clad in a housecoat and pajama pants–was nice and bittersweet. Emile is a dedicated giggler in the hour after his morning meal. I waved goodbye to my folks and aimed the car at my office. I swung by a popular vendor for espresso drinks, and pulled into the parking lot at work. 

I wasn’t at my desk for two minutes when a bug fell out of my hair. I reacted by screeching a note higher than I’d previously thought myself capable of vocalizing. Looking closer, I saw that it was one of those copycat ladybugs–not the real ladybug, which is red, but an Asian beetle–cute enough that my fear dissipated quickly, but not so cute that I would overlook its ability to bite (another feature that separates it from actual ladybugs). I let it hang out on a Post-It for 20 minutes while I answered phone calls and email messages.

A stranger unaffiliated with my organization came into the office wanting money for an unspecified urgent matter. This was followed up by a woman crying on the phone that she had medical bills she couldn’t pay because her son had gotten treated at the ER. The best I could do for either of these people was to give them referrals for other groups that could better help them.

Emile was a nice reprieve after my morning shift, but the glow soon ended once I put him down for a nap. Sitting on the edge of my bed, I drew up my weekly serving of testosterone, and fished in the Strohecker’s mailing box, where I keep my supplies for my shots. I needed another alcohol pad. Frustrated, I turned the box over and grabbed a swab. Dirt fell out along with the supplies.

I was swabbing myself when I noticed that the dirt was moving. I’d poured larvae onto the bed.

No standard for my day includes larvae. Larvae are far, far beneath my absolute minimal threshold. Of course, so is missing a flight and needing to drive 15 hours home instead. But seriously, larvae are extremely worse. Full circles of hell worse.

I scrambled to sweep the bugs back into the box and then threw out the box. I thought about adding this misadventure to my gripes about transphobia in America, and figured the larvae didn’t intend me any harm.

I think I’ve hit my maximum usage of the word “larvae” for 2012.

More hours at the office after that, a quick iced latte to round out my energy level for the afternoon, and yes, I need to take stock of how much caffeine I consume. I stood in a long line at the post office and mailed a care package to my niece who just started college. For $20 in shipping I was granted the privilege of sending $20 worth of stuff across the continent. I noticed I was grinding my teeth.

Bad news about a board member leaving the organization came to me from an unexpected channel, and I hit a resurgence in grumpiness. I drove home again and remembered the bag of candy corn on the dining room table.

Now then, candy corn is a delicacy with a distinctive diminishing returns quality. Eating one is not enough, so the average bear grabs a fistful. Now one has made a commitment to the candy corn snack, and before one knows it, fistfuls 2 and 3 have been consumed. But oh no, most stomachs fire a warning shot across the bow after the third grouping has been eaten.

As some sort of relief from my crappy day, I’d gone for an ill-advised fourth visit to the thing plastic bag of candy corn goodness. Now there was no more stomach growling, no more hey-this-is-a-grand-idea thought process in my brain. Instead I sat down clutching my abdomen. I was in the no-man’s territory between happy candy corn eater and vomitous splurge. It’s not a swell place to be, obviously.

After biting beetles, unhappy customers, squirming larvae, and assorted frustrations, now I had nausea to boot. There is not a Monday in memory from which I expected so little.

But hey, life is a learning experience.

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