Midway through a workday last month, I posted the Facebook update, “Patrick Cooper just nearly killed a woman with his hips.” Friend Marcel (above, getting a haircut) immediately proposed a contest to theorize what happened. I deferred. He then took matters into his own hands.
Clearly, he’s a danger
The days start the same: Blink myself to consciousness while groping for the alarm, adjust to the light, pull on my clothes, trudge to work. Same old, same old, same old, old, old.
But Wednesday, Wednesday was different. I woke the same way Athena sprang from Zeus’ brow: I was alert, I was up, I was ready. Fully formed. I charged through my morning routine with brio and alacrity. I had words in my head like brio and alacrity. That alone was a sign.
I decided to have breakfast at the office. I had a taste for the cafeteria’s multigrain bread, toasted in their moving oven, somehow better than my pop-up on the counter. And the jelly. The jelly is good. Those little packets are just the right size. When I get my own jelly from the jar, I load too much on the knife. The jelly packs help me get it just right.
So I’m salivating. With brio.
I buzz through the lobby, blast the badge, head for the elevator, beeline to the toasting center, pincer out my two slices of multi, slide them onto the conveyor and turn for the plate and jelly.
That’s when it happened.
My arch-nemesis, Ulgine Barrows, was making her way from the oatmeal and grits station to the cash register. Her oatmeal container was brimming with dried cranberries. Her head was down. She was moving. And so was I. This information was processed visually in the fraction of a second between my turn and my reach. As I reached for the jelly, we made contact. My hip to her tray.
I sunk her battleship.
Oatmeal and cranberries and jelly packs looked like so many fireworks in a summer night’s sky.
Barrows was wearing much of her oatmeal. Hair? Blouse? Skirt? Meet oats. Mealed. And then there was the matter of the jelly packs. Our impact rocked her off her center of gravity, the oatmeal explosion sent her teetering, and the table she backed into tippled her to the floor, in a sitting position. Under about 19 packs of grape, strawberry and “mixed.”
She clearly wasn’t ready for that jelly.