Ka-thunk. I knew exactly what the sound meant, though I could barely believe it. I was in the process of moving, and I was driving a small handful of my belongings — including my (and my cat’s) pink gamer chair — to my new place in a U-Haul truck. Except the chair wasn’t in the truck anymore. It was lying in a crowded intersection behind me. As I surveyed the carnage, my cheeks turned a brighter shade of pink than the chair.
Fortunately, no one was hurt. The chair fell out of the truck and landed in the middle of a four-way intersection, but not on any people or cars. Good thing, too; my chair, an Overwatch-themed Secretlab Titan, is built like a tank, and it could probably go toe-to-toe with a truck if it got enough of a running start. The second my chair hit the ground, cars’ horns began honking, as though they instinctively understood they’d just dodged death. In response to this, I cursed many, many times. I’m not sure exactly how many people stared, but suffice it to say: A Lot.
As I rushed out of my hastily pulled-over U-Haul, I pondered how this possibly could have happened. The back of the truck was closed tight, its hooking mechanism latched — or so I thought. Perhaps my chair had broken free of the boxes restraining it and turned into a sort of battering ram. Maybe, after ploughing into the door enough times, it jostled the hooking mechanism loose, which allowed the door to inch its way open. My chair, then, was able to slip out the back like a thief in the night. Or a bright pink chair. In broad daylight.
By the time I reached where my chair landed, it was no longer there. Three people had grabbed it and wheeled it onto a street corner so that it wouldn’t get run over or block the flow of traffic. I was thankful for this until I saw who the people were: teens. I don’t hate teens, generally, but in this particular situation, they posed a plethora of problems. As I approached, their young, unwrinkled faces were aglow with snark and smarm. They tried to hide it, but nothing could suppress the sheer glee they felt at watching a grown adult embarrass himself in this exact way. I knew, too, that because they were teens, they likely recognised not just that a bearded 32-year-old was walking over to claim a gamer chair, but that it was a gamer chair themed around a fictional Korean teenager from embattled competitive shooter Overwatch. They knew precisely how humiliated I felt.
“Probably should have made sure the door was closed,” chuckled the Lead Teen as I took back my chair. The other two stood behind him and grinned like lion cubs about to feast on the flesh of an old, slow gazelle.
I wanted to explain to them that I had made sure the door was closed — double checked, even! I wanted to add that I’d taken every necessary precaution, but fate is a joy-pilfering prankster, and in 10 or 20 years, it will sap as much life and dignity from them as it has from me. Instead, my eyebrows arched up into my perma-furrowed forehead as I smiled politely and said:
“Thank you so much!”
Then I wheeled my chair away at what felt like light speed, but was still too slow to keep the encounter from lasting a gut-wrenching eternity. I could feel their eyes following me. I had just gifted them the best moment of their brief existences, and I had to thank them for it.
There is no way one of the teens did not get this on camera. Somewhere out there, there’s a TikTok of my chair hitting the pavement and me completely not keeping my cool about it. Let us hope, for my sake, it never goes viral. Consider this me getting out in front of it, like my chair did to so many cars.