Dave McElhinny: When your day goes from bad to worse - PineCreek Journal

Dave McElhinny: When your day goes from bad to worse

Sunday, April 21, 2019 | 1:30 AM


Have you ever had one of those days where everything you do is an uphill battle? The kind where no matter how hard you struggle or how positive you try to be, it all goes south?

I was driving home from just such a day — one that included a flat tire on the way to work, nothing but problems at work and getting caught in the rain on the one day I forgot an umbrella.

All day I looked for that silver lining – for something to salvage the day.

As the day was nearing an end and I was finally driving home on one of those dinky, donut-like spare tires, I navigated through an absolute downpour, seeking to hide out in my home to wait out the conclusion of this terrible day. Nearing the end of my journey, I received a phone call from my wife and was gently reminded that we were out of milk.

I was annoyed because all I wanted to do was get home, so I angrily wheeled my jalopy into a convenience store parking lot, sloshed through a couple puddles that further soaked my shoes, finally making it into the store, now a sopping mess.

A more miserable sight you will never see. Wet and defeated, I grabbed the milk and made my way to the counter and it was there, in the most unlikely of places, that I found solace. Somebody finally took pity on me.

A lovely 20-something cashier looked at me as rain dripped off the bill of my baseball cap. She then broke into a smile that could light up any room and with the sweetest southern accent I had ever heard she inquired about my well being.

“You Kay?” she asked.

It was a beacon of goodness that penetrated the gloom of the day. A complete stranger noticed another human being in distress and took the time to ask about his well being. It warmed my heart and made me once again believe that there is good in this world.

I smiled at her and thanked her for caring enough to ask about me. I began regaling her with the horrors of the day I had experienced, explaining in great detail the unfortunate adventures that had befallen me the past 12 hours.

And then it happened. We both spoke English, but were having two completely different conversations.

Have you ever been speaking to somebody and you get that prickly, hot feeling climbing your spine as an uncomfortable situation unfolds?

You see, as I babbled on about my day, thinking that I was answering her inquiry, I watched her eyes get wide, body get rigid, and her smile slowly evaporate like a setting sun. I know the signs of miscommunication when I see it, and I was aware something bad was about to occur.

She then pointed to my University of Kentucky baseball cap and said, “No. I meant U.K! (not You Kay?)! I’m from Lexington.”

Things get pretty foggy from there as they are apt to do when in the throes of mortifying embarrassment. I mumbled some sort of apology, paid for the milk, possibly smiled sheepishly and went home, thoroughly humiliated.

The good news is that the day did finally end and life moved on and I have fully recovered. Well … almost. I can never go into that same convenience store ever again.