I had an exciting blog topic for this week that I was working on, but it turns out that I’m not fit for finishing the rough draft or editing what I have. In between long naps and lots of pain medication, I’m just pretty much sitting here in shock that I was mildly electrocuted by a nearby lightning strike (I’m still secretly happy it wasn’t a panic attack).
So this week readers get my fun little tale that will probably seem so much more fun to tell in about a year when I’m no longer freaked out, and I’m getting a break from trying to write something profound.
I call this tale: Since When Did I Become the Fireworks? (mostly because I really can’t think right now)
It was the fourth of July, but the fireworks were all wrong. There were no pretty colors lighting up the sky or gorgeous patterns blossoming before our eyes. It was the middle of the afternoon, but the sky was black. Rain poured down in dancing sheets as thunder shook the walls of the store.
It was almost closing, and I was anxious to get home where I could bundle up in blankets and turn a movie up louder than the storm. My heart sank as a group of six people walked in and started browsing around.
They’re just waiting out the rain, I told myself. They’ll leave soon.
They had just enough time to scatter themselves when the power died.
“Oops, hold on!” my coworker called. “Stay where you are, I’ve got a flashlight and will come get you.”
I fumbled around on the counter for the flashlight we’d dug out earlier and handed it to her. As she gathered those in the back, I began herding the few near me.
“You’ve got something to your left, ma’am.” I reached out to guide her, but hesitated. “Do you mind if I touch your arm?”
“No, go ahead,” she replied.
Grabbing her upper arm, I navigated her towards the group with my coworker. A few others had found their way to the light on their own.
“Okay,” Eva said, when everyone was together. “We’re going to have to close the store now, but we open again tomorrow at nine.”
There were a few scattered groans as people pulled on their jackets.
“We’re sorry for the inconvenience. Hope you have a good holiday!” She followed them to the door, locking it after they were gone. She jogged towards the office with the flashlight, calling behind her, “I have to shut down the back computer before the emergency power dies.”
“I’ll need the flashlight when you’re done so I can count the registers.” I started to imagine the fun of sitting at home with lit candles as I made my way to the counter.
“There’s another flashlight in the drawer,” Eva said.
But it was too dark to see even the outline of things in the drawer. In a stroke of insight that probably should have happened earlier, I grabbed my cell phone and tried to use the backlight as a dim flashlight, but it still wasn’t bright enough. I didn’t find the flashlight until Eva pulled it out for me.
I counted the first register quickly as Eva called the manager to explain what had happened. I had just opened the second register to count it when the store suddenly lit up with white light and the sky growled as loudly as if it were in the room with us.
I screamed, my hand involuntarily flinging quarters across the counter. My heart was racing as I gasped desperately for air I suddenly seemed unable to breathe.
Shit, not a panic attack over thunder, I pled with my body as tingling spread from my head to my fingers. Dropping to my knees, I curled into a ball with my head resting on the tiles. My medicine was in the back, but I wouldn’t be able to get it for this panic attack. My muscles had seized up and my ears felt like they were on fire. I think I was wimpering, but I couldn’t hear anything outside of the roar in my eardrums.
Eva said something indistinct about screaming and lightning hitting the building. I thought she was talking to me, but I couldn’t respond. The roaring began to subside along with the heat. I pulled my head up and saw Eva saying goodbye and hanging up the phone.
Embarrassment washed over me as I tried to get up and failed. My muscles simply wouldn’t respond at first. “I don’t feel good,” I whimpered.
I had begun thinking of ways to blow off the panic attack as funny when Eva asked me, “Did you feel that too?”
“You felt it?” I reacted with as much shock as my body would allow, which wasn’t much.
“Yeah, my head felt all buzzy and tingly. My hair stood up on my neck. I think the building got hit and we got some of it.”
I managed to stand up. “Holy shit, my head hurts.”
“Take it slow,” Eva cautioned when I began gathering the quarters and counting again. “We’re not leaving here until it’s safer anyway.”
The counting was fuzzy, and my fingers felt clumsy. But the calculator helped. It wasn’t until I tried to walk to the back that I noticed my coordination and balance were off. I staggered like I was drunk, catching myself on the counter. I swore, then remembered I was at work and looked around quickly to make sure no customers heard, only remembering that we were closed after I saw how dark it was.
Nausea hit us both soon after and we sat in the office waiting for the storms outside and in our stomachs to pass somewhat before finally locking up and going home.
Have a good week all! Stay far away from lightning!
(Also, I don’t use real names, just fyi)