Day Three of Birthday Month of Blogs.
The day started out like every other. Woke up twenty minutes before my alarm, and barely dozed back off before the alarm finally buzzed. Got up, contemplating life choices for a moment before getting ready for work. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary.
I had zero customers ask me for help, which isn’t unusual on a Sunday morning. We don’t get many in before church.
I was able to get a lot more done on my ever growing list. This was in spite of all the cleaning up after other people I’d had to do. This too was not unusual.
Now, normally, when I have a lot to do, which isn’t unusual, I keep my nose in my own business and stay focused on what needs to be done. I don’t go looking for conversation when I need to be working.
I do, however, get distracted with tasks better left to a less busy day.
But I soon began to realize that none of my coworkers had spoken to me. I often saw them in passing, even if we are short handed on Sunday mornings. But not a one spoke to me. I quickly chalked it up (side note: I had to Google that to make sure I used it correctly) to either me being my grumpy self, or my running theory that no one really likes me. It was that or everyone was just as busy as I was.
When I used the radio to ask a question and no one answered, well, the radio has been wonky for a while. At least I can hear on it. Oh well.
When lunch time rolled around, I finished up some business and walked around to try and find someone to cover me. After a few minutes I saw someone from neighboring department. His keys worked on the locks in my area, so he was my usual coverage. I waved at him, signaling an L with my thumb and forefinger, and I thought he nodded.
I sat at lunch with my phone and earbuds, watching silly short-form videos. “I really need to quit this,” I thought to myself, for the hundredth time. But I continued watching, while the break room had people come and go, once again ignoring me.
When I went back out to the floor, the church crowded had begun to make their way in. This always made my job infinitely harder. Between helping customers and getting around them, it meant that my efficiency went downhill.
But no one asked me for help. I saw plenty of them ask my coworkers for help. They would struggle around my department a bit, even though I’d overheard what they’d been looking for and told them the exact location. When something was needed from a case, someone else got it. Phone calls were picked up before I got to them.
What was happening?
I stood for a moment, staring at my company provided device, not really seeing what was in my had but trying to work out in my mind what was really happening.
My paranoid brain thought it was a twisted torture intended to make me insane. Logic told me I was ridiculous.
Then this woman walked by. I didn’t notice her initially, she saw me first. She was older, maybe early to mid 50s. Dark gray hair, wild and curly and long. Clear blue eyes, eyes that belied her age. Gold wire framed glasses with big round lenses. And she wore a spectacularly shabby yet brightly colored dress.
She’d stopped right in front of me and did a double take. The most attention to have been paid me all day. “Well hello!” She said brightly.
“Oh, uh,” I stuttered. “Hello. Can I help you?”
“Nope.” She said, matter-of-factly. “But I can help you.”
After a moment’s confusion I replied. “Uh what now?”
“My dear, you don’t know?” She seemed sad. “Well, this can happen. It does quite often. I honestly think I’m the only one in this small town who has left their mind open.” She sighed. “It’s a shame really.”
“I’m confused.” I said finally.
“My dear,” she said, “what happened this morning? I feel like it was this morning. Still kind of fresh.”
“Nothing, the usual. I broke a jar of pimientos. Who puts glass jars on the top shelf?!” I said, exasperated. “Wait, why am I telling you this, I don’t know you.”
“I have that affect on the soul. You close yourself off a lot, don’t you? Don’t let your self open. Just go with the flow. So much negativity on you.” She scolded, then shrugged. “Oh well, too late now.”
“What are you talking about?!”
“Sweetheart, something happened this morning. But, I think you’re so used to a pattern, a routine, that you’re soul just went on about it’s day.”
“My soul? What do you know about my soul?”
“For one it’s tired. Had been for a while I think. But that’s not important. It needs to think about what happened this morning.”
This morning? I woke up? Got ready for work. Drove here, there was a squirrel. But there’s always squirrels. I live in Tree City USA. There are small animals and birds everywhere. Stupid squirrel. Couldn’t decide which way to get out the road. It was too late to break so I swerved. “Oh.”
“There it is.”
“I, I swerved.” I mumbled. “I shoulda swerved right but I swerved left.” At least there weren’t other cars. “The River.” I said. “I knew those guardrails weren’t strong enough.” I said to myself. I looked up at her. “I’ve always been afraid of that River.”
“Yeah, it’s a scary river. Lotta people in there.”
“WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING HERE?!” I shouted.
“Muscle memory.” She said, nonchalantly.
“You know,” she said. “When your muscles and your brain are so used to something that they do it without you having to think about it?”
I rolled my eyes. “I know what it is.”
“Yeah, well your body had done this,” she gestured around. “That your soul just went ahead and did it. Despite the fact that it doesn’t have to anymore.”
“So,” I swallowed hard. “I’m dead?”
“You’re body, yes.” She said. “Yeah it’s probably still in the River in your vehicle.” She said, nodding. “What do you drive?” She asked.
“Did, drove.” I said, correcting her. “Uh, a truck.”
“Nice, those gas prices though.”
“Heh, yeah.” I agreed half-heartedly. “So, what now?”
“I don’t know, dear.” She answered. “That’s the beauty of it. You don’t have to do anything now.” She said, smiling. “But, I don’t recommend dropping in to see loved ones. At least not until you’re ready. Have some fun first.” With that she winked at me and walked away.
And that’s how I spent the first few months of my death making my favorite coworkers feel like they were slowly going insane.
Thanks for reading!