Monday morning definitely had the 'day after' feeling. Work was not particularly productive until the afternoon, and the usual autopsy of the weekend's collegiate football games began. I had decided that as my preferred teams were doing so badly this season, I was going to adopt another in the hope that I might actually be supporting a successful team. Statistics were being thrown around like they were a scientific calculus, and I was adding my own perspective with a degree of sarcasm. The fate of various teams were being recognised, and it was when I decided to add my latest underdog protege to the conversation, did we receive a visit from our newest office neighbour. "What about them Golden Flashes", I shouted as the unsuspecting newcomer entered through the door. Unaware (presumably) that I was referring to the Ohio football team of the Kent State University, the look upon our visitor's face was definitely confusion. This was possibly due to the fact that I was sitting at my desk, facing towards the front door, and appeared to be directing the rhetorical question towards him.
The less than confident "Um", followed by the word "Package", brought me to my feet, and I strode towards him with my arm extended for a handshake. He responded in kind, but shrank back as my alter-persona took over and I heard myself boom "Hi, I'm Tracie". Still wondering whether he should answer the question about the supposedly lights of precious metal, a name came from his lips, which I did not catch. "Pleased to meet you!", I shouted louder than necessary, in a failed attempt to regain normality. I had surmised that he had come to collect the parcel that had been left the previous week by the express delivery service, and handed him the box that was sitting on the chair in my office. Thanking me, he walked backwards towards the door, in what looked like an attempt to leave the asylum, but I continued to torture the poor chap. "Anytime you need something signed for, we are always here", I continued, wondering why I could not stop taking and release this victim from my grasp. At last, after aimlessly feeling blindly for the handle, his hand came into contact with the latch and he was able to open the door and disappear into the corridor.
Making an impression upon people does not seem to be a problem for me. Making the right (or a good) impression, is perhaps more of a challenge. The week continued and the 'big game' was being discussed more and more each day. The Texas Longhorns football team have had a dismal year (I speak as an armchair sportsman) and had, up until that week, only won four of their games. Admittedly, one was against one of the top teams in the nation, namely their arch rivals, Oklahoma! This was a great upset to the statisticians as the dismal year followed on from last year's dismal year, and the previous year's dismal year! The Longhorn's final game of the season was against the Baylor Bears, who had only lost two games up to this weekend, one of them being to Oklahoma! Most of our office are supporters of the Texas Longhorns, with Dana and Jerry being ex-pupils of the University of Texas, but Matthew, one of our servers, actually played for the Bears, before he had to retire due to injury. Having not been selected to play for the Longhorns all those years ago, emotions run deep, and he now supports two teams, namely (obviously) the Bears, and anyone who is playing the Longhorns. I was in taunting mode, and threw in my own scientific theory; if the Bears lost to Oklahoma, and the Longhorns beat Oklahoma, it would stand to reason that the Bears would lose to the Longhorns. To say that I was sorry that I even ventured to start a conversation was an understatement. I needed a degree in applied mathematics, advanced physics and aeronautical engineering to understand the dynamics and fundamental reasoning as to why this was not the case! My (obvious) comeback could only be, "What about them Golden Flashes!"
The weekend finally came around, and football was about as far from my thoughts as applying for courses to undertake degrees in applied mathematics, advanced physics and aeronautical engineering. This was the weekend that preceded the 'last minute' shopping weekends, and I had to make sure that I had everything I required to take with me, on my bi-annual trip home, before taking care of the 'orders', that may come flooding my way. Samantha and I headed out quite early, and whisked around Costco with ease. Our next couple of stops were in the same strip and we were amazed at how quickly we managed to exit both stores. She had been in communication with her hairdresser, about a possible appointment, and had reluctantly said "No" to one that afternoon, but I suggested we fore go our grocery shop in order for her to accept. It was then that she suggested that we shop over the south side of town and came up with a less than brilliant plan. Originally she had suggested that she drop me off at Walmart and collect me when she was finished. That would have been a brilliant plan, almost as bright as a golden flash! However, she then came up with an alternative that sent my panic button sensor into overdrive! She would drive to the hairdressers, and I could take the car and go shopping. This was acceptable, until we reached the salon. Showing me the map of where we were, and how to get to and from the supermarket, on a screen the size of a pinhead, was not helpful! For a few moments, I was frozen to the chair upon which she had sat me, to explain that this was not going to need one of those degrees that I did not have, and it really was quite simple! The lady sitting next to us started to laugh, and apologised, assuring us that she was not eavesdropping, but was enjoying listening to "y'alls accents". She further explained that she had been in Dallas recently, and had asked a policeman for directions. Apparently he had looked at her in a confusion and asked "Do you not have GPS". It was only when I almost shouted, "Why didn't you just follow the road signs, or a map", (which I did not shout, because it would have been as inappropriate as asking "What about them Golden Flashes",) did realise how silly I was being in not taking the car to the supermarket. If I was to get lost in the spaghetti that was the system that I was going to have to negotiate, e.g. overpasses, underpasses, junctions, freeways, highways and toll roads, all of which converging at the Walmart exit, all I would have to do was head towards home, loop around, and head back on Mopac! (The road upon which we were now on!) Mopac is one of my 'safe' roads, and one which we used daily when officing downtown! With renewed confidence, I took the keys to my daughter's car, and headed out of the salon!
Spending the journey reprimanding myself for my lack of composure, not to mention my lack of faith in my own ability to drive myself anywhere, I found the supermarket, shopped and returned before Samantha was ready to leave. We headed north, passed the exit (on Mopac!) to my house, went to the craft store, and then returned (on Mopac!) home. She took her dog from grandpa and left!
Unfortunately, for the Longhorns, the season is over. The Golden Flashes finished fifth in their conference, but considering there were only seven in the running, it was not a great season! I finished somewhere between 'highly' and 'grossly' embarrassed! Not bad for a week that is neither 'here nor there'! Onwards and upwards shall be my motto for the next week. I am sure I will manage to do something that will earn me a place in someone's history books, which would be .......... another story!