I’m turning into Captain Queeg.
I have yet to see The Caine Mutiny in its entirety but I’ll never forget the scene in the 1954 film where Humphrey Bogart’s crazed captain went bananas over some missing strawberries.
I came down with a wicked cold and I’ve been absolutely miserable, handling things in my usual way, by freaking out at everything and letting my inner Queeg chart a corrosive course through the Sea of Insanity.
It started on Wednesday, the first day of autumn, when I thought I was having trouble with allergies.
However things got worse and by the time Friday rolled around I was coughing, sneezing and wishing I could crawl under a rock for the next six months.
I took a day off from work and canceled my weekend plans, which was really annoying since I don’t socialize enough to begin with. I then sank into a ruinous routine of bad television, lousy food, and rotten thoughts.
By Saturday I was feeling marginally better, but I was out of food, so I staggered up to the local Key Food where I discovered that blueberries, a key ingredient of my breakfast oatmeal, had suddenly become ridiculously expensive. Yet another reason to hate the change of seasons.
The strawberries were a little cheaper so I got them instead. They tend to go bad quickly, but I wasn’t paying four bucks for a tiny plastic tub of blueberries.
Food shopping blows under the best conditions and it sucks even harder when you’re sick. I hauled myself up and down the aisles like a reanimated corpse and just grabbed stuff that looked vaguely edible.
A Freudian Delight
I did learn that I wasn’t the only one suffering as I overheard a woman hacking and blabbing into her cellphone about how sick she was. Actually, it was impossible not to overhear her, given the volume at which she spoke. Who says misery loves company?
And wouldn’t you know it, I had the displeasure of standing in front of this woman on the checkout line as she continued coughing into her phone.
“I take care everybody except myself,” she bellyached to some poor soul who surely deserves a medal for patience.
I got the hell out there, limped up three flights of stairs to my apartment and, I as unpacked my goods, I saw something was missing.
I searched through the empty bags, looked on the landing of my apartment, the whole time dreading the inevitable march back to the supermarket.
I’m sick, I whined, I don’t want to do this. I just want to go back to bed.
I started wondering if one of my neighborhoods had somehow snuck into my house and swiped the strawberries while I was putting away my shopping cart. Yes, Captain Queeg was cracking under the strain.
I finally gave in, dragged myself back to the supermarket and talked to the cashier. It seems I had left the strawberries off the conveyor belt, so I didn’t actually buy them.
Okay, so now I’ve got my damn strawberries. And it occurs to me that The Caine Mutiny is about a ship commander who is relieved of duty after freaking out during a violent storm.
It’s time to send Captain Queeg belowdecks, take the helm and get through this typhoon.