I was 18, finishing up a workout (current self to former self: what is this “working out” that you speak of?) when Lola called and asked if I could pick up some envelopes at Staples for her. Sure, Ma. No problem.
Lola had recently been diagnosed with cancer, and had just gone through major surgery and was in the middle of chemotherapy. She spent many days in bed thumbing through issues of Reader’s Digest while she recuperated. My dad was out of the country on business, and Ryan was just a young lad at the time. So, envelope retrieval was up to me.
It was a late night workout, so I pulled into the Staples parking lot just as it was about to close. Thankfully, I had my running shoes on (what is this “running” that you speak of?) so I made it to the front door just shy of 9:00pm. The Staples employee was getting ready to lock up, but she reached for the door to open it and let me in.
Well, apparently she had forgotten that she had turned off the function that makes the automatic door automatic. So she let go of the heavy steel door, thinking it would continue to open. Instead, the weight of the door caused it to rapidly swing closed, slamming me in the head, knocking me into the doorjamb, and then closing on me.
I saw stars, flashes of light, and Freddie Prinze Jr’s face. I was in so much pain, and totally embarrassed. Staples employees wearing red polo shirts ran towards me, but I told them I was fine and that I’d just head home. JK on those envelopes, honey. I think I’d rather go home and ice my entire body, and by the way, when did Post-It notes get so expensive?
I stumbled towards my car, and by the time I got home, I had no recollection of how I got there.
I relayed the story to Lola who was all, Where are my envelopes? Why have you failed me as someone who carries my DNA?
In actuality, she took one look at me and told me I needed to see a doctor. She grabbed my cell phone, dialed my friend Jackie’s number, and within 7 minutes, Jackie was in my driveway, ready to take me to my local ER.
A triage nurse took my insurance card and asked me what happened.
“I was violently assaulted by an automatic door at Staples.”
“I sense a lack of urgency. An automatic door traveled at great speed and shoved me up against a metal doorjamb like we were a Roo sandwich with steel bread but no mayonnaise even though it’s the greatest condiment of all time, after ketchup. And maybe whipped cream. Is whipped cream a condiment? Because it’s dessert-y, but lives next to the mustard in my refrigerator door. Lookit, Triage Nurse, call a Code Teal or say whatever magic word is necessary to get me on an operating table.”
After a visit with the doctor and a series of brain scans and possibly a colonoscopy, they sent me home with the instruction that a family member should check on me periodically throughout the night. Since Lola was unable to care for me and Ryan was busy making Lola weak tea and playing video games, I slept at Jackie’s, in the guest room. Total upgrade, as our high school sleepovers usually consisted of five of us sprawled out in the basement with a scary movie and many bottles of OPI nail polish.
Jackie set her alarm and shook me every half hour to make sure that I hadn’t died. God bless Jackie. That is a good friend. If you’re reading this? Hi, Jackie, hiiiiiii! (Jackie is currently finishing up a super advanced degree in anthropology, so let’s just call her Dr. Jackie and ask her to paint our nails in OPI’s I Think in Pink.)
Lola called Staples and was all WHAT THE JUNK, STAPLES, my kid’s already bad at math and now you’re going to take away what few functioning brain cells she has left?
And they were all, Lola, we’re sorry, but what was she doing just hanging out in a doorway like that?
They then offered to pay my hospital bill, but Lola said, Nah, Staples, it’s cool. She’s got good health insurance. And that was it. That was it?
Staples, this happened ages ago, but if you were going to send me complimentary head trauma Post-Its, I wouldn’t turn them away.