So, I get to work today, and I’m working like I actually care. I do computer support, so I’m installing stuff, and closing tickets left and right. I wanted to end the day with no work assigned to me and waiting for me. I wanted to clear out my queue. I was within striking distance of doing just that.

Then my friend Ken calls me.

“So… uh… what are you doin’ today?”

“Why?” I ask.

“Well… I have a huge favor to ask you.”

“What?”

“I was kinda sorta hoping that you’d be available to, um, help me haul around some shit.” Turns out that ever since Ken was promoted, he’s been given the task of gathering up all of the county’s surplus computer equipment and getting it to the recyclers. It has not been a happy or fulfilling task, since there are hundreds of different county offices and buildings, and the task of installing new computers and removing the old ones is pretty much an ongoing project. But, hey, that’s what he gets paid the slightly-larger bucks for, right?

And now he’s in a bind because he’s got to clear out some space in the only storage area he has access to, by loading up a bunch of old monitors and taking them to a recycler, then going out to another site and getting all of that equipment into the now-cleared storage space.

Today. He’s got to do all that, today.

I tried a couple of lame excuses, like “I’m not dressed for hauling around garbage” or “but I was trying to close out all these low-priority tickets”. Finally I said, “Hey, management’s lack of planning does not mean… Um… I forget how that one goes. How does that go?” I asked.

“I don’t know,” Ken admitted, “but I liked where you were going. Keep going.”

I tried several times to regain my train of thought on that one but failed. It was too early in the day (this was around 9:00 AM or so). Finally I gave in and said that I’d help him before lunch. Ken promised to buy me lunch in gratitude, which I thought was sorta fair.

So I spent the morning loading up a cargo van full of 15″, 17″, 19″ and 21″ computer monitors. You know, the old-school picture-tube ones. Heavy, bulky. We only dropped one, and, contrary to a long-remembered quote from my father from long ago, picture tubes do not, in fact, “go off like a minor A-Bomb” when dropped. However, Ken suffered tiny cut on his finger, a bruised knee, and a scrape on his ankle.

Then, lunchtime rolled around. Ken asked me where I wanted to go; I said I wanted to go to Montage. Mmmmm… Cajun food.

Ken agreed, but, he said, “I’ll have to find an ATM.” Then he remembered it was the day before payday. “Um… how do you feel about Big Town Hero?” I’m not sure what the difference was (Montage is a bit spendier but not that much) and asked him. “How about we go to Big Town Hero today, and I’ll owe you lunch at Montage later?” OK, fine, I agreed. I was wearing my Easy-Going Guy Togs today.

We had found a parking spot at the closest Big Town Hero when Ken remembered. “I need to find an ATM!” Argh. This free lunch thing was getting more and more complicated. I was hungry, though, and Ken figured that there would be an ATM in the lobby of the nearest building (the Metro offices on Grand Ave.) Sure enough, there was.

However, Ken had forgotten his ATM card. How that happened I have no idea, but it seemed awfully convenient. Luckily I had some cash. So I ended up buying his lunch and he still owes me lunch.

I feel a bit like Br’er Fox being tricked into the briar patch… But it’s OK. I know where Ken works.