Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Axe Murderer

On Monday I awoke at the ungodly hour of 6:15 am to the truly worn out tune of my cell phone alarm.  It is spring break and I shouldn't have had to go to work at the college, but I did.  Just that one day, fortunately.  I usually get up at 6:30 am on the days I have to work, but one of the fellows I work with doesn't drive and wanted a ride to work so I got up 15 minutes early so that I could pick him up and still arrive at work on time.  I won't go into how much it irritates me that even though I call him five minutes before I pull into the parking lot of his apartment building he makes me wait at least five minutes before he "rushes" down to get into the car.  Five minutes during which I mutter to myself about his audacity, thoughtlessness and sense of entitlement while my Jeep burns gasoline (which is now a whopping $4.11 per gallon here on the Kenai Peninsula).  I suspect that those five minutes would be better spent considering how I might deal with my people pleasing codependency issues and tell Chris that I won't give him rides to work anymore unless he is standing inside the hallway to his apartment building when I arrive and in the car within one minute.  He doesn't give me a dime for these rides.  Gee, I guess I went into how much it irritates me that Chris consistently makes me wait for him after all.

Monday was my first workday post "springing forward" to daylight savings time.  Daylight savings time is a ridiculous practice in Alaska.  We spend all winter driving to work in the dark, and right about the time it's blissfully light at 7:30 am we roll the clocks forward and it's dark when we're driving to work again.  Monday it was dark and cold and icy on the road, and frankly I wasn't too happy to be working that day.  Chris is one of those incredibly happy morning people, and he was chatting away as we drove.  I was not amused.

We stopped at the light on Bridge Access Road (long, cold, icy, dark two lane road that crosses over the Kenai River) waiting to turn left onto K Beach Road (long, cold, dark, icy two lane road that leads to the college).  For once, Chris was silent.  Then, we heard a "knock knock knock".  Exactly the sound that a neighbor would make when coming over to borrow a cup of sugar.  Very unusual to hear it when sitting in a car.  Chris and I looked at each other briefly and then I looked out the driver's side window.

A man was standing very close to my window waving a hatchet at me.  In the dark.  On a rather remote road while I waited at a red light.

I spend a lot of time worrying about things.  I worry about plane crashes, having a heart attack, not getting good enough grades, my cats getting sick and dying, and a vast number of other things that don't happen (or haven't happened yet).  I had appendicitis two years ago and refused to believe the Emergency Room physician when he told me what was wrong with me because I had never worried about that particular ailment and figured that I couldn't have it if I hadn't fretted over it previously.  Another thing that I hadn't ever worried about was being brutally murdered by a man wielding a hatchet while I waited at a stop light on a dark road in Alaska.

The man started shouting at me and waving the hatchet more vigorously.  I couldn't hear him and thought, "I should roll down the window so that I can hear this fellow."  Then I thought, "Are you out of your mind?  He's going to kill you."  After that, "He has a hatchet.  If he's going to kill you, he can do it by driving the hatchet through this window."  The man shouted louder.  He screamed, "This hatchet was hanging off your rear bumper!"

My husband had spent a good part of Sunday afternoon trying to clear our driveway of the solid six inches of ice that had built up over six months of snowfall.  For some reason he had opted to hack at it with a hatchet.  I remembered watching his efforts from the living room window and wondering what kind of idiot uses a hatchet to clear ice from a driveway.

I opened the window and profusely thanked the man with the hatchet, who had jumped from his car when he stopped behind me at the light and left his coat in his car.  He was shivering.  He smiled kindly and raced back to his car as the light turned green.

Chris laughed the rest of the way to the college.

When I told the story to several people at work, after recovering from a bout of hysterical laughter, each responded that the man with the hatchet wouldn't have scared me as much had I carried a handgun in my car.  This is Alaska, after all.  They all carry handguns.  I'm not ready for a handgun because sometimes my husband irritates me so much (as in when he leaves a hatchet hanging from the rear bumper of my car) that I fear I may shoot him one day when he pushes me over the edge by leaving dirty dishes in the sink, dirty underwear on the bathroom floor, or once again forgets my birthday. I doubt that I have the strength to chop him up with a hatchet, so I'll be keeping it in my car.  Just in case.