Tim Sample: Stories I Never Told You

Mr. Mellow’s meltdown

Tue, 08/27/2013 - 8:00am

Like most folks, I’ve gradually developed an idealized internal image of myself that’s often wildly out of sync with the me that outside observers experience.

That’s OK. I understand. They’re just wrong. No biggie. See what I mean?

I’m an easygoing dude. Call me Mr. Mellow.

I like to think that I’m basically a calm, rational open-minded fellow. So patient and tolerant I’m surprised The Nobel Peace Prize Committee hasn’t called yet. Compared to the real me, of course, this is all a huge pile of Grade A nonsense, a fact which recently smacked me in the face like a big gooey custard pie.

Last Thursday I fired up my old Mercedes roadster (a mellow ride if ever there was one) and joined the stream of bumper-to-bumper traffic along Route 1.

Despite the glacially slow progress, my mellow mood never faltered. I simply relaxed, enjoying the warm, sunny weather as, ever the good son, I motored on down to the Harbor to visit my mom.

The first cracks in Mr. Mellow’s persona appeared around the middle of the second round of what is currently my mother’s favorite game “Upwords,” a clever three dimensional variation on the old classic Scrabble. It began to dawn on me that I was, once again, being badly trounced by the unfailingly polite, always charming matriarch of Clan Sample.

Taking my intellectual defeat (a more frequent occurrence than I like to admit) in stride, I slapped on a smile and headed back to Route 1 to get to a meeting with some friends in Yarmouth. Mellow fellow that I am, I had even factored in time for the inevitable Wiscasset bridge traffic jam.

Did I say traffic jam? Well, that’s certainly what the tourists have to put up with. But not me. Not Mr. Mellow.

I just took the local insider’s short cut around the backside of Cod Cove and let some polite tourist wave me back into line at the entrance to the bridge. Having thus saved 20 minutes, I was ahead of schedule!

The second slip in my laid back facade came when a fender bender in Brunswick slowed traffic to a crawl bumping my blood pressure up at least a couple of notches. Grr, this is not good. Mr. Mellow always arrives early. Mr. Mellow is not a “time waster.” To be perfectly honest, Mr. Mellow is beginning to get just the teensiest bit ticked off.

Once I was on 295 south of Brunswick, it only took a few minutes of arrogant, inconsiderate, pig-headed driving to get me to the appointed meeting place in Yarmouth.

I arrived about 10 minutes late. But where were my friends? My phone calls were shunted to voicemail forcing me to conclude that I’d been stood up. The nerve! Don’t they know my time is valuable? At this point I’d have to say Mr. Mellow had pretty much left the building.

My last remnants of mellowness in tatters, I screeched to a halt in the Maine Mall parking lot and rushed inside to retrieve a pair of glasses my wife had asked me to pick up for her.

(By the way, my sincerest apologies to the elderly lady I nearly bowled over on my way through the door.) Mr. Mellow was now in a full-blown meltdown!

I was returning to my car when my cell phone rang. My friends were wondering why I never showed up for our meeting in Freeport. Freeport? Yup, Freeport. Not Yarmouth after all. Oops. The fact that they were having a jolly old time without me just rubbed salt in my wounded ego. But the fun wasn’t over yet.

Upon reaching my roadster I attempted to open the trunk only to discover that it was jammed shut and wouldn’t unlock even with the key. Yikes! With visions of the jaws-of-life, cutting torches and thousands of dollars in repair bills dancing in my head I raced over to the Scarborough Mercedes dealership and explained my dilemma.

The 12-year-old manager in the service department was extremely patient considering that he was clearly dealing with a hysterical old person.

I explained that the motionless trunk lid was blocking access to my briefcase, which contained my driver’s license, photo I.D., credit cards and most importantly: my laptop containing my half finished newspaper column.

As I blathered on the service manager gently reached down and pressed the trunk release button. The trunk magically popped open. Embarrassed? You bet. Humbled? Plenty.

Reviewing the half written column I found myself striking off in a whole new direction, one which I hope you’ve found interesting. If so, perhaps Mr. Mellow’s meltdown will not have been entirely in vain.