Tuesday, June 29, 2010

(Mrs) Adventure #14: When Hilarity and Emergency Strike


Like some bizarre slow motion and soundless film clip, I saw the poof of pepper spray release itself gleefully into the air before I heard the shout.

He was fumbling with the hot pink keychain on the counter, while I was trying to wash something in the sink. I didn’t put two and two together when he asked, “Why the heck won’t this flashlight work? It must be broken.” And, like an overly meticulous watch repairman, he held the device up to his eye and pushed the button.

Poof! Sizzle. Ssssssssssssss.

The sound that seemed somehow out of sync with the action lasted about three seconds.

“OH MY GOD! MY EYES!” And he’s barreling over to the kitchen sink.

“Milk! I need milk! It’ll stop the sting! Ahhhh!!”

I am practically frozen. Do I even HAVE milk? What if it’s moldy? What if it’s curdled milk? I can’t throw curdled milk on my good friend’s face, can I? What if it makes him sick?! ”

Sensing my hesitation, he yells again.

Panic overtakes me as I throw open the refrigerator and spot to three slices of Velveeta cheese. That’s dairy! I can throw cheese at his face! I’ll unwrap them and press cheese slices to his eyes!”

“MILLLLLLKKKK!”

And like Jesus on a tater tot, I could have sworn that milk materialized out of thin air from the bottom shelf.

I rip open the new container and begin splashing it in his face. By now, the pepper spray has made its way around the room like the worst possible aerosol can of Febreeze in history and it’s doing a spicy tango on my lips and up my nose. I gag and begin coughing. I hold one arm over my mouth, and with the other I am throwing handfuls of milk at his face.

“I can’t do this anymore! You have to come outside! Get on the balcony!”

“I can’t see, he shouts back.”

“Well take my arm, my little Helen Keller, and let’s go!” My other two friends are teetering back and forth on the balcony. Wide-eyed, I can tell they are unsure of the appropriate response: explode into fits of laughter or dial 911?

He runs to the balcony and begins splashing the milk on his face-sending cup full after cup full of white liquid onto my neighbor’s patio set below. I stand behind him remembering a memo that went up on our elevator the other week threatening that any resident caught throwing material off their balcony would be promptly arrested. My GOD, does milk count? How are we going to explain this to the judge?

“Well, you see, your Honor, ahem, umm, my buddy here was just playing around with this pepper spray and ended up spraying it directly into his eye and I was gonna use the cheese slices, but it turned out the milk hadn’t yet become a solid….”

“GOOGLE IT!” I yell to another friend. “Google what we’re supposed to do.”

The second hand spins as more milk rushes over the balcony.

“It says get a shot glass, fill it with milk and apply it to the damaged eye.”

“GET A SHOT GLASS!” I yell, and my friend Stephanie flies into the apartment and returns no less than five seconds later with a commemorative shot glass from a friends wedding. If he goes blind, I realize, the last thing he will see is: Laura and Andy: Forever in love!

That’s depressing. Especially since they’re already divorced.

“Ah, well that shot glass was easy to find, eh? Not the milk?” my friend slyly laughs

I shrug. “PUT IT IN THE SHOT GLASS AND HOLD IT TO YOUR EYE!” I yell as though he was quickly going deaf and not blind.

I pause, “How did you know milk would work on pepper spray, you rapist? How does that shot glass feel? That workin’ out for you?”

My neighbors, at this point, are either incredibly tolerant individuals or they’re staying far from the windows and dialing the police. I can’t imagine what this scene looks like for an outsider. I curse myself for not having a camera ready.

Roughly five minutes later, the milk is gone and my friend is finally able to sit down. He resembles something of a Koi fish, but at least, for the time being, he is able to see without the pain of a thousand fiery sunbeams shooting out of his pupils.

And then I do what every normal person would do in that situation: call absolutely every mutual friend in my phone book and tell them in between heaving fits of laughter. Inevitably every response is the same: “Dude, please tell me you got that on film.” Darn.

Later in the night as I reflect what shall here to for be referred to as “the incident,” a little bulb pops up and shines over my head. I have been struggling the past couple of weeks to come up with domestic and fashion tips for a new magazine. When I was asked if I would write an article about all things domestic, I was at first thrilled! I read Cottage Living! I can find some mean deals at my local Target. (Pronounced correctly: Tar-Jae).

I once creatively strung up a fabulous set of silk olive toned curtains by using nothing more than a metal rod I found abandoned in the community basement and seventeen plastic multi purpose cable ties. In fact, I used the same cable ties, (thank you, Dad, contrary to my original belief, your gift has come in handy more than once), when I fixed my broken patio umbrella using eight cable ties, a roll of duct tape and a wooden spatula. It isn’t pretty, but it’s functional in light wind.

Of course, they also asked if I could add some quick and easy recipes in my article, and that is where I really began to panic.

Obviously, if I have so little use for a spatula in the kitchen so that I am perfectly fine wrapping it in duct tape and cable ties and leaving it exposed to the elements, I’m clearly not whipping up any souffl├ęs. Admittedly, I have lived in my condo for over a year now, and the stove has never worked. Not once. My landlord told me that there was a missing cable, but I never bothered to follow up with him on it. Instead, after months of frustration and convinced that I was starving, my mother went to the store and bought me a hot plate. So now, that very hot plate sits on a burner on my stove. I use it to boil water so that I can make a perfect mold of my teeth for one the tooth whitening mouth tray kits.

But now I have my solution. My friend has single handedly (and unwillingly) showed me how to combine domestic and kitschy fashion tips, (especially for the spouses of deployed servicemen) and food. The pepper spray canister is lightweight, easy to use and quite powerful. It comes in hot pink, electric blue, lime green and black. If one was to purchase all four distinctive and trendy colors, one could easily match it to any outfit or purse. Switch it up! Live a little! Set yourself free from the fear of fashion faux pas and dangerous criminals! And, in case the pepper spray particles are accidentally, say, deployed into mid air with the ferocity of three thousand blood thirsty Marines, well all you need to wage war is a few measly cups of milk. Fashion plus safety times food equals success!

I’m not sure if that is what they had in mind, but I know it’s certainly practical advice.

So now I’m set. But now a new problem crops up in the back of my head: what in the world am I going to write for next month’s advice column? Should I, say, set up dangerous items just out of view and invite unsuspecting victims over to determine what vicious injury I could calm with perhaps a teaspoon of vanilla, three paper towels and some Windex? My mind is already racing with gleeful possibility.

For all you concerned readers out there- my friend is fine. He shall certainly live to 'see' another day and we do hope that with time, the emotional scars will heal. Mainly because it's great material and I'll probably need him for inspiration on my next column.

But until then, ladies and gents, I leave you with my humble advice: your own personal safety should always remain your top priority, but never let your fear of attack outweigh your very rational fear of committing an hideous color faux pas. Buy your mace in multi colored canisters and always, always keep your dairy at attention.


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