[about the author]
i actually like speaking in front of large crowds. freakish,
i work crossword puzzles in ink.
i am the american nigella lawson. or maybe the american eddie
izzard. can't decide, really.
i would be a really good mom, but i'm cool with being a really
i am sometimes more perceptive than i would like to be.
i am fiercely loyal. sometimes, stupidly so.
i never play dumb. never.
i am way too hard on myself.
i am a change agent.
i sometimes cross that fine line between assertive and aggressive.
i am not afraid to tell people that i love them.
i am militantly pro-choice.
i am pro-adoption.
i know a little bit about alot of things.
i typically enjoy the company of men more than women.
i am capable of being really mean and nasty, but i fight it.
i am a lifelong cubs fan. do not laugh.
i have been known to hold a grudge.
i have hips.
i am not my sister.
i am lousy at forgiving myself.
i am an indoor kind of gal.
i am a bargain shopper. to the point of obsession.
i am 32 flavors. and then some.
the following story is true. i wish i could change my name to protect the clueless, but it's a little late for that. no animals were harmed during the, uh, creating of this story. unless, of course, by "animal" you mean "my pride." in which case, extensive harm was done.
yesterday was a long day. it was cold. i was cranky. traffic was lousy. overall, just a long day.
as i pulled into the parking garage much later than usual, my cell phone rang. it was someone from my office with a question for me that definitely could have waited until this morning. the higher i went into the garage, the worse my cell reception was getting.
“listen, i’m going to lose you,” i said, trying to focus on making the turn without removing the ass end of the silver saab parked at the end of the row.
“hmand rffsho arunst tomorrow.”
“uh, okay. thanks.”
i fumbled with the phone and the steering wheel and the oncoming car.
“god, i hate people who try and talk and drive. just put down the phone and drive,” i admonished myself.
as i rounded the corner, i found a pleasant surprise.
“shut. up. i guess coming home late has its advantages.”
there was my parking spot – with an empty space on either side. typically, by the time i get home, the two spots beside mine are already occupied. and, with as much charity as i feel like doling out this morning, i’ll just tell you that neither one of the chicks who parks beside me knows how to park a car.
yes, there are two yellow lines. but that’s just for decoration, girls. your car should be inside the inner yellow lines. please. i’m begging you.
so, i was very pleased indeed to see plenty of space for me to slide right into my parking spot and actually open my door in such a way as to be able to get out of my car without contorting my body into a pretzel-like shape. i grabbed my bags and walked across the ramp that connects the garage to the apartment building.
this is one of my favorite things about the place where i live: i have an assigned spot on the same floor as my apartment. where i lived before, i had four flights of stairs. steep. small. stairs. now? no stairs. no fuss. no muss. no worry about finding a spot. it’s parking nirvana.
as i strolled down the corridor toward my apartment – it’s the farthest from the garage – i couldn’t help but smile as i noticed the little snowman on my neighbor’s door.
“man, that nutty lady is even nuttier than i thought she was. she’s so nutty that she actually put a christmas decoration up on her door after christmas. although, it is just a snowman, so i guess, technically, it’s not a christmas decoration. you could argue the point that it’s just a winter decoration. still, though, that is nutty.”
yeah, i talk to myself like this all the time.
i finally get to my apartment and put down my bags. i’m exhausted and cold and i just want to go inside and take a nice hot bath and eat something. i’m thinking specifically of the slab of chocolate layer cake left over from my dinner out with my girlfriends the night before.
as visions of fudgy-cocoa delight dance through my head, i slip my key into the lock and…nothing. it won’t turn. i pull the key out and look at it. why i look at it, i’m not really sure. maybe i thought i had been distracted by my chocolate cake fantasy and had inadvertently stuck the wrong key in the lock. i mean, what else could i have been looking for? to make sure the end of the key hadn’t somehow mysteriously broken off? i don’t know. but i look at it, and it looks okayfine to me. so i slide it back into the lock and…nothing.
i can’t believe this. i must be cursed. when i lived at my last apartment, the same thing happened. first, my key started sticking a bit. then, one day when i came home with about $20,000 in frozen foods, i slipped my key into my lock and…nothing. it wouldn’t turn. as a matter of fact, it wouldn’t even come out of the lock. so i sat there, waiting for the maintenance man, reading instyle and watching my bagel bites defrost into a sad gooey artificially pizza-flavored mess.
but, this was ridiculous. what are the chances that one girl would have the same thing happen again?! i grab my bags and head back down the hall, cursing under my breath. actually, over my breath, too.
i walk past my car and straight to the elevator. i get in, press the ground floor button and walk across the street to the maintenance office.
jose is sitting at his desk with his feet up, talking on his cell phone. he sees me come in and hangs up.
“jose! what the hell is up with my key?”
“key. my key. i know i paid my rent, so it’s not that. i think the lock must be broken. jammed up. or something. i don’t know. jose, i’m tired and crabby, and i want to take a hot bath and eat chocolate cake. can you please come fix my lock?”
so, jose smiles at me and gets up and we go outside. i’m heading back across the street toward the elevator, but jose gestures to me to hop in his little white maintenance truck, and i’m all for bumming a ride.
“this is just so crazy. i just went though this at my old apartment where i used to live. what are the chances that i’d get two bum locks?”
there’s some guy singing in spanish on the radio, and jose doesn’t really seem to be moved by my plight, but i’m still glad to be riding instead of walking.
we make the turn into the parking garage, heading up the ramp. i see my car and, amazingly, both parking spots beside it are still empty.
“there’s my car, right there jose. you can just pull in right here.”
we get out and walk down the long corridor.
once we get to the door, he reaches for his keys.
“wait a second. i want to show you so you don’t think i’m crazy.”
and i take out my key and slide it into the lock. again: nothing.
“there. thank god. i was so afraid that somehow, some way, now that you’re here it would just magically open and you’d think i was nuts! and i’d feel all bad about making you come out in the cold.”
and he’s just staring at me and smiling, waiting for me to finish so he can open my door and fix my lock. and i realize that my little show-and-tell might have exonerated me for making him come out in the cold in the first place, but running my mouth ad nauseum about making him come out in the cold is just making him stand out here in the cold. which sort of defeats the purpose. so i shut up.
“okay. it’s all yours.”
so, he takes out a key and slides it into the lock. i see his wrist start to twist to the side, and then, just like magic: the key is turning.
i hear the deadbolt slide, and he turns the knob and opens the door.
and, at first, i am very confused, because:
1. that is not my furniture.
2. that is not my family sitting in front of the television
the little boy on the floor turns and sees us in the doorway and says something in spanish to his father. the whole family turns to look at us.
things get a little confusing at this point, what with people jumping up and voices getting kind of loud, and a whole lot of spanish being spoken.
jose is trying to explain and the husband and wife seem to be, uh, very excited. and, although my spanish is a little rusty, i’m pretty sure i heard the word “loco” more than once.
while they’re talking, i try and explain that i seem to have made a teeny tiny mistake, but since they don’t seem to be paying any attention to me, i just turn and high-tail it down the corridor toward my car. i get in and head up one floor to find the familiar maroon sebring and blue audi in their usual spots.
all i know is, thank god i showed jose that my key wouldn’t open the door so he wouldn’t think i was nuts.
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