The Fifth Circle of Hell as envisioned by Dante in his epic work Inferno, is a place where souls find their way to the river Styx and are confined to the murky depths of the foul water where they have retreated “into a black sulkiness which can find no joy in God or man or the universe.”
Today my personal Fifth Circle of Hell was located in the shoe department of the Eden Prairie Kohl’s.
I had withdrawn there over my lunch hour after a really rough day at the office.
My plan was to collect myself while trying to find some new Columbia flip flops (which I found out Kohl’s apparently does not carry), and then hit the beauty department on my way out to refresh the mascara that I cried off in my car on the way to the store. I’m ordinarily not a weepy drama queen, but this is the second time this week I’ve lost my composure about something and I was as mad about that as I was mad about the lecture I’d just been subjected to.
So just as I was finally calming down, I heard a kid SCREEEEEEEEEEEECCCCH at the top of his lungs. Repeatedly. Now Justin was a screecher so I’m sympathetic to parents who have to deal with misbehaving kids, but Justin stopped by the age of 3 and this kid was well into his 3’s, and still in a stroller, and the demonic shrieks emanating from his mouth were beyond any human or even earthly noise I’ve ever heard. He kept doing it, and his mom was all, “Now Koda (Koda? Really?), you’re being naughty. Koda. Koda, you stop that or you’ll get a spanking. Koda. Koda. Koda. Koda.”
I’ve never felt more unmitigated hostility at the mention of someone’s name than I did at that moment. “Koda. Koda. Koda.” Her constant and gentle pleading made the maniacal screaming sound like choirs of angels. “Koda. Koda. Koda.” As if this wasn’t enough of an assault on my ears, the soundtrack to whole scene provided by the overhead in-store music system was Michael Buble (Hey WordPress, how do you get that acute accent symbol over the French “e?”) singing Haven’t Met You Yet, which is easily the most hateable song getting radio airplay right now.
Katee Sackoff’s character was water-boarded in this week’s episode of 24. That didn’t look half bad.
© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2010