Mercury Poisoning

Mercury is in retrograde.


This is the same type of hippy-dippy bullshit I’ve been dodging for about 30 years…ever since my agent offered to do my chart for me.  No, wait, that was only twenty years ago…so even before that.

No, thanks.  I wouldn’t follow.

I went to a psychic when I was 22 and she told me I was going to die young.  I laughed at her.  Now I curse her.

<Ptew!  Ptew!>

Not that I was really prepared to live this long.  But I have a great sense of balance about these minor setbacks in life:  regardless of what’s going wrong – er, on – in my life, every day that I don’t die is a day longer that I’ve lived than those younger than me.

I’m setting a high bar definition of success, no?

Maybe.  We’ll see how that plays out.

Case in point:  Someone just walked into my local watering hole and exclaimed, “Did you guys see the dead dude in the park?!?”  I’m obviously more successful than that poor bastard.

Anyway, just to demonstrate the equanimity I have about all things dogmatic, I thought I should come out against astrology.  Well, not necessarily against.  Consider it as coming out as ambivalent.

Not even science is safe.  Well…”science”?  Where does astrology and even the Myers-Briggs fall on the scientific spectrum?  I’m a repeat ENTP.  “P” standing for “percieving” in contrast to its opposite personality value: “judgment”.


I have plenty of references -sure, mostly guys I haven’t dated well – who will gladly support and defend to their ego’s dying breath that I’m a judgmental sonofabitch.  But they may lack the objectivity to see the bigger picture of the MBTI.

Or be able to properly define “objectivity”.

Or “accountability”.

But, I digress.

I’m just saying, you won’t have to look too hard if you wanted to debunk science based on my Myers-Briggs profile.  As a matter of fact, I’ll openly cop to my judgmental tendencies…just don’t think of that as a self-indictment.

Call it objectivity.

Just realize that no disciplines – or doctrines – are safe from my garden variety Portland type passive-aggressive scrutiny.  Rather, I like to take a broad – albeit narrowly informed in some cases – view of all things ideological and then patch together some sort of wide-ranging world view.  Or what I’d call wide-ranging.

That said, I skew heavily toward science, but also think that I’ve woven the warped tapestry that is my moral code with a strong weft of spirituality to soften the edges of that cold, hard science.

I love that this showed up on my Facebook feed today.

So, here we are…bumbling through several weeks of Mercury being in retrograde.  What’s most remarkable here is that if I recall correctly, there are four other planets also seemingly standing still in our planet’s line of sight.  Counting Earth, that’s fully two-thirds of our solar system’s planets involved in what has begun to feel like an astrological Armageddon.

Depending on where you come down on the whole Pluto issue.

And whether it’s four planets in retrograde or three.  But that’s just math.

I’ve been working on this draft for five days now and things keep getting weirder – I don’t think it should take this long, work has been quite distracting.  It is also a source of some of the weirdness I’ve encountered, as you’ll shortly see.

I had two conversations the other day, one in person and one via email, that I walked away from saying to myself, “How the literal fuck did that go so sideways?!?”  With the email conversation, I walked away fully accepting that the tone I was reading in could very well be an internal perception versus an external reality.  That said, emails that start with “Let me clarify…” aren’t really that easy for me to read in a positive and constructive light.  I’m basically bracing for someone to call me stupid.

Yeah, that’s on me.

Hashtag: blog therapy.

Now that you know I’m a person of unaligned spirituality with limited competencies in the scientific disciplines we can move on to what Mercury in retrograde is allegedly all about.

Well, depends on who you ask.  See?  This is just like religion…vague and open to interpretation.  I gather that Mercury is the astrological representative of communication, so when it is in retrograde true believers recommend not doing anything that involves communication because it’s gonna get screwy.

That said, how wide a net do you cast when defining communication in this case?

People advise against launching business ventures, buying cars, beginning relationships, yada-yada-yada.  Depends on who you ask.

Me?  I’m just sitting here caught between having my normal chuckle at my misadventure filled life and going my internal Gilbert Gottfried style pacing, squinting and gesticulating while yelling “Really?!?”

A few examples:

Last Saturday at work 13 things went wrong in a 13 hour period.  Some weird.  Others sad or tragic.  Still others, truly mind boggling.

The morning barista didn’t show up.

One of my Deli peep’s dad went to hospital.

Another Deli steward’s business partner attempted suicide.

Yeah, we call ourselves “stewards” at work.

The grocery manager’s de facto cat died.

The blast chiller in the kitchen crapped out.

The closing meat and seafood steward called out sick.

Our grocery vendor didn’t deliver.

Goaddamn…I had all 13 in my mind for friggin’ ever and now that I’m typing, I can’t recall more than half.

The next day, I randomly checked Instagram and saw a pic of an e-acquaintance and The Broken Poet.  Apparently they had begun dating.

Holy crap.

stupid is as stupid chris.does?

Photo used without permission and only slight ambivalence.  Maybe Sacha will follow him and rat me out.  They’ll probably be broken up by then, though…

Some casual spelunking around my social media life confirmed what I suspected: unfollowed on Instagram, no Story on Snapchat and unfriended on Facebook.

So crushed.

Oh, ok…surprised at how not surprised by this I was.  But I still called him out on it.  For my efforts, I got a bunch of crazy-assed rationalizations.  I just left it open ended with an offer to talk if he ever needed to.  I know it’s more a matter of when he will need to talk.  That said, younger guys being as awesome and ill-equipped as they are to handle interpersonal conflicts as adults…I’m pretty sure I’ve heard the last of him.

Oh well, most of his Snapchats were of him singing in his car.


Let’s see…while we’re on matters of the heart vs Mercury in retrograde, I discovered via asocial media that Sacha was back in town.  Moved back to town, that is.  In my cynical mind, he did it as part of a plan to make my life miserable in retaliation for posting – while protecting his anonymity – about my memories of our relationship and break up.  Man, he was pissed about that.

It was ridiculous.

Because, obviously, my blog is all. about. him.

Yet, if I ever go missing…

Anyway, I hope his move went well, but if it occurred during this retrograde period, I believe in it enough – now – to guess it was a bumpy ride.  Personally, I’d like to reach out to him since Portland is such a small town that we’re bound to run into each other.  Based on our last text exchanges, I would imagine that communication would be challenging under the best of circumstances…Mercury quirks notwithstanding.

There are many ways to communicate, but let’s assume that verbally is a universal default.  Guess who chipped a tooth last week in the old communicator?


Let me tell you, me and dentists?  Not my favorite activity.  Although, I suspect that disliking the dentist chair is another universal default.

Nonetheless, instead of grabbing a meal with friends at the new Pine Street Market in Old Town, I was grabbing some emergency dental care.  I was there for about three hours.

My first crown.

My first time getting gassed.

I felt stoned for about 20 hours afterward.  It was nuts.  I can see why people use this stuff recreationally.  That said, the whole ordeal caused my pockets to become a little more shallow and also caused me to miss a day of work.

Speaking of – or back to – the topic of work.  I had a special project scheduled for me last Sunday.

Just take a guess how that went.

I’d say it was a shitshow, but really, it wasn’t that bad.

No one died.

We were having some old wooden stockroom shelving replaced with heavy duty metal racking.  Even before Mercury began its implosion, this project was off to a rocky start.  Half of the shelving was supposed to be delivered to the contractor, the other half right to the store.  Naturally, the half that was going to be delivered to the contractor came to the store, I helped unload it and then asked to be filled in on the plan…learning then that there had been a mis-delivery.

Oh, joy.

The contractor had it picked up and re-delivered, since we were waiting on the rest of the equipment – a staircase-ladder – to be delivered a couple of weeks later and weren’t equipped to store the shelving in the meantime.

So, the ladder arrives just about on time…a few days earlier than anticipated, even.

The truck driver comes into the store and asks were our dock is and if there is still a forklift operator around.

This isn’t a good sign, as we are a 5000 SF store where deliveries are typically dropped off from a lift gate truck onto our parking lot.

I go out to the truck with him and he opens the non-lift gate equipped doors at the back of his trailer.  I’m greeted by a gigantic yellow metal ladder.  I think I could wheel this – with some significant effort – up to a 747 and use it to board the damned plane.

It’s on a 16 foot pallet and stands about 10 feet high lying down.

There is nothing else in the truck.

I’m assuming this was supposed to be shipped disassembled.

But, after a surprisingly mellow conversation with the contractor, I arrange to have it re-routed to him.

With a start like this, I looked ahead to the demo and installation with my typical “What could possibly go wrong?” attitude.  Surely, all that could go wrong had…

The night of the project was my day off.  Of course.  And the person who was set up to assist us had switched with another team member, which was no problem – except he was supposed to provide the drill for the project, so that we would have two.  The grocery manager and myself arrived early to start unloading the existing shelving and then started disassembling the shelves with our one drill.

Which promptly died.

Being the cool guys that we are, we just took that in stride, thinking we’ll use the other drill when it arrives at 8:00, still plenty of other stuff to do.

Then realized it was 8:45.


I start calling and get voicemail every time.

And every time, I am told that the mailbox is full.

I text.

No response.

The grocery manager goes and gets his personal drill from his house.  I keep busy.  The store closes at 10:00 and still no word from our missing team mate.  I actually get a little worried, but at the same time this particular person has given notice and I secretly vacillate between concern that there’s something catastrophic going on and the possibility that we’re just getting the one finger farewell.

At the same time, we now have a working drill, so we are moving forward…just slower than anticipated.  We estimate that we will be done around midnight and joke about grabbing a few beers before last call.


The missing helper shows up out of nowhere saying she was told 10:00.  I have an email that she was copied on that says 8:00, so this story stinks, but at least she’s not lying in a ditch somewhere.  There’s really nothing for her to do, but now we have two drills so we keep her busy shuttling wood between the stockroom and the store’s trash shed – nicknamed Trash Mahal.

Cute, right?

And since she was late, I don’t feel guilty about making her do some heavy lifting.  Also, I’m pretty much a bastard.  Just ask Sacha.  With the extra drill and the extra pair of hands, we’re leaving at just after 11:30.  Which isn’t awful…the new shelves are set to be installed at 6:00 the next morning.

Now, let me ask again…it seems safe, “What could possibly go wrong?”

The contractor double booked himself.

That’s what.

The assistant store manager gives him some latitude and finally decides to call him around 7:00.  He’s halfway to a job in Olympia and is just passing through Chehalis, so we’re lucky his stupid cell phone even worked.  He agrees to turn right around and head into the store after picking up all the equipment for the job.  Somehow, he manages to get back to town and have the shelves up by 2:00, so it was a good recovery from a pretty disabling fuck up.  Meanwhile, our grocery delivery for the week has been dropped, and it’s *huge* since we missed a delivery from the prior week.

There’s no where to put it…but my awesome store team digs in and makes enough progress putting stock on the new shelves while simultaneously working out the new load – shut up, Diezel – so that we at least have room to turn around in the stockroom by 4:00.

I’m still not sure how he managed to get that big ass ladder unloaded at the store.  I should ask someone what that looked like.

He put the shelves in wrong, though.  Totally – albeit subtly – crooked.  I just counted holes to check spacing and discovered the error, why my mathematical method is somehow special, I don’t know.

I can’t wait until this weekend, we have inventory.  What could possibly go wrong?  Actually, I can’t wait until May 22nd…I think that’s when I recall hearing that Mercury’s retrograde period ends.  I hope I make it.

Fucking retrograde.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go tie-dye some shirts.

Mercury Poisoning

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