Bad Days and Bad Timing

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Have you ever noticed how family members always misbehave at the most inappropriate moments? Well, let me tell you, it's not just the little ones that spout off with remarks that make you want to don a cloak of invisibility.

My son was just having one of those days. You know those days - when everything goes wrong and you just wish you would've stayed in bed. We all have those days. Some of us have them more often than others.

He knew what kind of day it was going to be once he spilled his morning coffee. As the hot brew dribbled down his shirt, he bent to stop its travels by reaching for the dish towel on the counter. As luck would have it, his elbow nudged the pot knocking it to the floor, creating even more of a mess. Barely awake, he was already frustrated.

Unfortunately, bad days are more abundant than good in our household. It would be a miracle of great proportions if all of our family members could actually be in a good mood at the same time. That would go down in the history books for sure. Well, back to the bad day.

As time progressed, things didn't get any better. Little petty annoyances continued. He made a sandwich, tripped over the cat, lost the sandwich. The cat found it. I decided to start dinner a little early. I had a taste for spaghetti. Just after adding the sauce, my son decided to stir the spaghetti, which was a bad idea. Sauce splashed all over his shirt.

After tearing off the shirt, throwing it in the laundry and putting another one on, he decided to stir the spaghetti once again. If you're wondering why, I have no clue. But lo and behold, once again sauce splashed on the clean shirt. Needless to say, by this time, he was rather hot under the collar. I don't know why he just didn't stay away from the spaghetti.

The frustration level really peaked when he went to the bathroom and his cell phone fell into the toilet. Yes, it was definetly one of those days. After thoroughly towel drying, then another ten minutes with the hair dryer, there was still no dial tone. The phone remained damp and lifeless.

Back out to the kitchen he went to make another cup of coffee to drink rather than spill. My poor son sat there with his head in his hands staring at the phone. I felt like I should say something positive - something I knew he wouldn't want to hear anyway, so I did the sensible thing and said nothing instead. I tried to mind my own business in a nonchalant way so I busied myself with straightening the house.

After a few minutes, my son finished his cup of coffee, placed the cup in the sink and went to take a shower. The phone rang - the house phone, that is. Another minor irritation. I knocked on the bathroom door. The water abruptly went silent. "Huh?" came the reply. "I'm sorry to disturb you but that was your work on the phone. They need you to come in early," I said as gingerly as possible. "Great," was all I heard before the water turned back on.

Being rushed to work earlier than had been expected only served as more fuel for an already raging temperament. With one shoe on and one off, the stress continued to mount. The phone rang at the same time that someone began knocking on the door. As I headed toward the phone, I heard my usually polite son yell, "Who the f--- is it?!" Then I heard the words, "Is your mother home?" I rounded the corner only to come face to face with my landlord of all people.

Immediately my face went into polite apologetic mode. Mindlessly, the words poured forth. "I'm terribly sorry. It's just been one of those days." He looked at me with what I thought was the hint of a grin seeping from one corner of his mouth. "I just brought some stuff for the drain in the bathroom sink," he said. "Oh, thank you," I replied, embarrassed smile still firmly planted on my face. Glancing over his shoulder at my son, I gave him a look quite different from the polite face meant for my landlord. My son responded with a shrug of his shoulders.

I am quite capable of embarrassing myself. I don't know why my family members have to insist on doing it for me. But I guess that's what family is for. Even when I'm not the one having one of those days, I end up feeling like I would have been better off just staying in bed.

Darlene Zagata is a freelance writer and columnist for the print publication Moon Shadows Magazine. She is also the author of "Aftertaste: A Collection of Poems" and "The Choosing." Her work has been published extensively both online and in print. For more information visit her website at or contact Darlene at

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