I went to bed last night after making a list of things I needed to accomplish today and I’m happy to report back, at 6:46 PM, that I have finished all of those tasks.
Granted, the morning got a bit of a slow start. It’s always harder to wake up on Mondays than on any other day. Luckily, the wind blew my bike and I down the grid towards coffee and a croissant and a kiss from my favorite barista.
I referenced my list and made some calls to the post office, but to no avail. The post office is not answering it’s phone these days. It must be screening my calls. Things have really changed between us since I was a kid. We used to like each other. Now I go in just to get my monthly dose of abuse.
I decide to save the post office for my second to last stop.
The first stop is the DMV to order a new ID so I grab two books and my headphones and gear up for long lines and crying babies. The bike ride up Broadway feels like forever with the wind pushing against me and the streets winding and cracking and ending unpredictably and people sneering at the sun waiting for buses with their hands on their hips holding plastic grocery bags. When I get there I get my number and sit down and fill out my form. I’m prepared to accept and face nonsense and bureaucracy. I’m prepared to kindly and boldly confront conflict. I got my game face on.
But I don’t get to use any of my battle techniques because, somehow, I’m in and out in 30 minutes flat and on my way with my little paper receipt.
Commence, a month without purchasing alcoholic beverages or frequenting bars. This will be a good way to save money, so I can’t complain.
I call the post office(s) again. None of them answer. I try them all over again and one answers but they don’t do passports. The closest one, on Alhambra, isn’t answering their phone so I decide just to stop by in person to find out that they, too, do not do passport. They give me a list of places that do and one of them is the post office downtown. Ace. The grumpiest of them all.
I stop by the Sac Co-op for the best part of my day: applying for a job as a cashier. As I’m filling out my application, I’m forced to remember all the correct euphemisms to list as past job responsibilities and skills. Uh, customer service. Uh, cashiering…skills. Taking money…? Counting down a drawer…? Being awesome and making friends? Showing up for work when I’m supposed to? Common sense stuff.
As I’m leaving I hear the guy at the front desk exclaim, “Woah, is this, like, a job?” as he flips through my application and peers at what I assume to be my resume. I assume he’s looking at my reporting gig and it makes me feel good. I smile on the ride home hoping and feeling like he’ll at least remember my application. The idea of working at a co-op again is relieving and exciting. It would just be so perfect to be in that environment where I know what I’m doing and I’m around people again and socializing and becoming a part of the community (just in time to leave, anyways. But it’s not like I won’t be back).
I think it’d be great to get back into that groove and have energy and time and brain power and confidence left for reporting.
I wanna work weekends plus one weekday. I hope this flies.
I bike to the downtown USPS and the lady at the counter barks at a quivering old lady trying to mail out a birthday present all wrapped up in balloon colored paper.
“Lady, I specifically asked if you needed insurance and you told me NO.”
As the line directs me to the counter bitch, I see a shabby, worn-out sign that reads something like,
“No passports today, we’re understaffed. Have a terrible day.”
I verify that the sign is current and am told to go to Royal Oaks, which according to my phone is an hour-long bike ride through the flooded park.
So that’s probably not going to happen today. On to the next task. I bike to work and I’m updated that there is no update about the whereabouts of my backpack. It’s just gone. The security guy scanned all the videos of the elevators that day and saw nobody leaving with a backpack. He said he figured the only way someone could have left with my backpack is if they left through the fifth floor parking garage. Damn.
So, there’s still this big part of me that feels like it’s still in the office. But since I’ve already ripped the office to bits, it’s time to just face the music and call a tow truck.
Only thing is, my insurance doesn’t actually cover towing. But Jenn saves the day by lending me her road side assistance and so I’m off with a tow for a discounted price. The total still comes to $70, though, so it hurts a little.
We wait about two hours for the two truck to show up and I start getting nervous because the Dodge place said to have my car in before 5 and it’s just past 4 when the guy shows up.
But I was zealously affirmed that as long as I have my car in by 5, I can be helped by the fine mechanics of the Dodge express lane. Programming the key will cost $65.
Enrique the tow man shows up with his special tow truck that essentially folds in half in order to fit in the parking garage. He’s funny and friendly and super sweet and reminds me of my brother. We talk on the way about life. About the war. He says he thinks it’s good they didn’t show Osama’s body. He says it would’ve made retaliation worse by pissing off “the other guys” even more.
“Everyone thinks the war is over but they’re going to retaliate. They’re going to get back at us,” he says.
“But it is what it is,” he says, and laughs. “That’s what I always tell people and they laugh at me, but it’s true.”
I tell him that I know how to say essentially the same thing in three different languages.
Que sera sera.
Ce la vie.
It is what it is.
So, if three different countries have the saying, there must be some truth in it.
The fun and games end when I get to the Dodge dealership and the man behind the desk is practically running the entire show himself because he’s so understaffed. He’s clearly trying to multitask while keeping his cool and he’s doing a damn good job as he tries to explain something to the old lady in line. I want to be so nice to him, but when he tells me he doesn’t have time to program my key today, I feel like I’m going to pull an Amelie and splash onto the floor like a gallon of dishwater.
I beg and plead and he shrugs and asks the mechanic, who has just come inside all hopped up on something, if he has time.
“You bet,” he says enthusiastically after taking an irritatingly long look at me. I avert my eyes and try to look as A-sexual as possible while giving him the most sanitary “thank you” I can muster. When he leaves, I give my praise to the guy behind the counter instead, who seems like a nice but frazzled guy.
I pay the tow man with my poor Amex, who’s gotten a lot of heat today. I pay the grumpy cashier at the Dodge and I’m on my way down the 99 with the setting sun just to my left. I bellow to Joan Osborne with the windows down.
I’m roughly $200 poorer all because of the mysterious disappearance of a physical thing but it’s all been replaced as if none of it were ever even here.
It’s strange but I’m OK with it. It is what it is.