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Wrong or Right, this was Rotten

January 11, 2012

The day started off so sweetly: at the preschool parent-teacher conference, the teacher couldn’t come up with enough ways to tell me how perfect my child was. I should have stayed there alllllllll day.

I was planning to go and do something I didn’t really want to do. In fact, I had tried to do it the day before, but I didn’t have the right document. That morning, immediately before the “I love your son” fest, I had located it and taken that little serendipity as a sign that I needed to do this thing. “This thing” is as specific as I want to get; this is a thing I could have done, and some might say should have done, a long time ago, but I didn’t because it is a can of worms. Anyway, when that document magically appeared, I considered it divine assistance and my can of worms thing became sanctioned.

At lunch, I hopped in my car and drove downtown, found a parking spot, and even located two quarters. My previous experience being rejected at the office informed me that I wouldn’t be inside long, so I didn’t need to keep on scrounging. It also taught me that I needed to compact all of my items into one place for ease at security (remember when you could just walk into government buildings? those were the days), so I emptied my pockets of cell phones and keys, stuck them in my purse, placed my purse on my book (ABAB) and paperwork on the passenger seat, where I would retrieve them AFTER I got my meter ticket and placed it on the dash board; I got out and started my jog down the block to the meter.

Diversion: I was once the black sheep of my family. Whether I still am is, I’m sure, debateable, but when I was indisputably trouble, there was quite a run around in my family about whether or not I could have a key to the family car that my older sister drove us to school in. I thought I should because she was unreliable about comng to the car punctually and I didn’t want to have to wait around BY the car. For some reason, that sounded like the kiss of death. Other members of the family seemed fairly certain that if I had a key I would a) teach myself to drive, b) skip school, c) steal the car, d) drive away to certain destruction and sinning. Where they got that idea, I don’t know. I’ve never even been to the principal’s office! But it was the basic consensus. When I finally got a key to the car, it was on the condition that I would never, no never, leave the door unlocked. I believe I was even threatened with spot checks. 14 was a tough age. But, in order to maintain ownership of this key, I have never, since the age of 14, left my car without automatically locking the doors on my way out. Ironically, I was chastised from time to time for locking the car doors when the car was inside the garage, but I’ll insist forever, that that is not an actual problem, just an inconvenience. Until your little brother leaves in the middle of the night, forgetting to close the garage door and allowing teenage hoodlums access to the garage, the freezer full of popsicles, the unlocked house with sleeping people completely off guard, and unlocked cars with purses in them and keys in the cup-holder that they steal and drive around town for a few hours. Then, I seem like a downright genius, don’t I?

Halfway to the meter, feeling naked with empty pockets, I realize that I have just locked my purse, paperwork, keys, cellphone, and money inside my car.

Quicker diversion: this is only the second time since I was 14 that this has happened, but both of those times have been in the last 6 months.

So, I’m downtown (which in my town, isn’t great, more desolate), running an errand on my lunch break, and have two quarters to my name. That, my friends, will get you no where. I’m beginning to think my “thing” is not, after all, divinely appointed. I’m thinking this day can’t get worse. Then I remember that I know precious few phone numbers without the assistance of my cellphone. Besides, there are no phones in which to use my two quarters, if that is what a phone call costs, anyway. Or a phone book. Argh. And the one I do know is my mom’s. And she isn’t home on Tuesdays. Lucky for me, I have a sister who lives there and she will just have to answer. If I can find a phone.

In a nearby building where I think there may be a pay phone, I ask the only human I can see, and she kindly hands over her phone and even tutors me on how to use it. The machine picks up at my mom’s house (yes, a machine) and I beg the air there to actually answer the phone…which my sister does. I walk my sister through the steps of getting a guy to come break into my car because, well, it’s not a video game, so she hasn’t done anything like this before. Outside I wait in the cold. I give the guy 20 minutes, and then my day is officially worse. Without my book, I am forced to people watch, but there aren’t many of those, so I watched the river. I didn’t want to think about missing work, having to beg the nice ladie’s cell phone again, or having to pay someone to break into the car, so I let my mind go as numb as my extremities (because I dressed for inside, not outside that morning), but still the car guy didn’t come. So I did have to go back inside to beg the lady. But this time she was dealing with actual customers, so I had to stand in line for a loooooong time, all the time trying to see if a truck had arrived. The nice lady spotted me and passed her phone down the line of customers to me, so I called my sister who assured me that the truck was en route and I called work to tell them I was a loser and ask the nice library ladies to expect my hoodlums for a period because I don’t rank high enough for a substitute. Bad day.

Outside, the truck WAS waiting for me and the car was easy to break into, which actually made me glad because last time it was NOT easy to break into and I was told that this kind of car is hard, which is good, except when it’s not. I guess this guy was a better vandal. Anyway, I was reunited with my stuff and paid him and ran to the meter and bought a ticket, because since I had already told work I wasn’t coming back, I might as well get to that thing, right? Get it done. Heaven knows what would happen my third time out. One of my quarters took and the other didn’t, who knows why, but it didn’t matter because it was just an abundance of caution–this was going to be quick. And I’d just spent an hour on this street and there were no parking guards. I put the ticket on my dashboard, grabbed my paperwork, even paperwork I was reasonably sure I didn’t need, just in cases, got my book (ABAB), purse, double check my keys, lock my doors, and I’m off.

Security was quick, I knew right where I was going. When I got to the desk, I couldn’t find my original paperwork, just the photocopy I had made out of that old abundance of caution. I was given a new form to fill out, because I needed an original signature, and I decided that was a better idea than running out to the car where the original definitely was, along with the documents that had been rejected the previous day. Filling out the paperwork was even more tedious than before, and besides, my original had been nicely word processed. Boo. But back to the office, I am directed to a different lady who is very kind and realizes almost immediately that I had been given the wrong form, anyway. The one I had filled out twice was wrong. She gave me another. I completed it. Copies, stamps, filing, thanks thanks. I leave. She chases me down near the elevator to grab one more paper I had, but she had just told me she didn’t need. Whatever. Back to the car, glad to have my keys in hand and hey, at least I don’t have to rush back to work. I arrange myself and my paperwork and wonder how things will go in this can and look up to see: a parking ticket. Yup filling out two new forms took longer than I had anticipated. If only that quarter had gone through! Or I had put it back in. Or not wasted an hour waiting to get my keys out. Or not tried to do this on my lunch. Or not done it at all? Was this a sign that I should have just carried on, can unopened?

Turning on the ignition, I see my “empty” light. I don’t have time to get gas. I need to get home and watch my kids. They don’t want to go back to my school with me to get my work stuff, so I just hope no one makes any mischief on my work computer in my “classroom” which is actually a very insecure science lab staging area. The science equipment is all locked up, sure, but not my stuff.

Then my $10 cell phone, the one that has survived a complete cycle in the washer and drier, dies. It hates me. Probably everyone will, soon enough.

Confirmed: even Amos’ imaginary friends hate me–they are all mad at me, it is reported, and they won’t share their treats with me.

When crappy stuff happens on otherwise good days, it makes a good story, and just seems like some sort of cosmic balancing act. When crappy stuff happens during other crappy stuff, it starts to feel like you are just doing stuff wrong.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. April permalink
    January 11, 2012 1:16 pm

    I am so sorry. I will share my treats with you.

  2. Rosalynde permalink
    January 11, 2012 1:26 pm

    OMG. That was a terrible day. I’m so sorry. The universe owes you big time today.

  3. sylvia permalink
    January 11, 2012 10:48 pm

    things can only get better!

  4. January 12, 2012 7:15 pm

    Holy. Crap.

    I hope today was better.

  5. January 12, 2012 10:49 pm

    I’m sorry you had a bad day; really, I am. But reading this just made my day. You need to get a facebook “like” button, because I would have shared this…

  6. Scott permalink
    January 13, 2012 5:56 pm

    This is what neighbors are for…especially neighbors going through a period of joblessness. If you ever get in a bind like this again, call me. I’m easy to find, even when your phone is locked inside your car. (And if you think YOU’RE having a bad week, ask me about Lisa’s latest surgery and hospitalization…)

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