How I Roll
Almost every time I try to do a simple chore - pay a bill, get my car inspected, buy new clothes - the task mutates into a some fabulously complicated monstrosity, full of unexpected delays, unforeseen complications, and various despair-inducing states.
Like this morning. All I had to do was drop my car off at the mechanics and catch an express bus to work. Seems simple enough, eh? Let's see how this simple chore mutated.
6:15 Alarm goes off, unconsciously hit snooze
6:24 Alarm goes off, revel in the warmth and softness of my bed, attempt to hit snooze button but instead unknowingly turn off alarm
6:50 Awake and realize I should be leaving for the mechanics at that very moment.
6:51 Debate the pros and cons of taking my car into the shop vs. staying in warm, soft bed. Bed is the clear winner. Stay in bed.
6:55 Realize that I would really only get an extra 15 minutes of sleep if I stay in bed. Drag sorry ass out of bed. Fail entirely to shower, brush teeth or comb hair. Leave for mechanics.
7:08 Arrive at mechanics only to discover that they do not open at 7 am but at 8 am. Sit in car staring blankly. Sigh.
7:09 Debate pros and cons of leaving key in car for mechanics vs. going to work. Idly clean car in the event that I do leave it so that the mechanics won't think I am a disorganized mess and consequently charge me for made up car parts like a revonator.
7:12 Remember the two trips I am taking out of town in my car and decide to leave key in car. Consider various ways of hiding key and whether or not I should leave a note.
7:14 Watch as express bus I was going to take to work passes by.
7:15 Think about escaping to the Yukon.
7:16 Decide to go ahead with plan and catch the next bus to work, since I think it will only make me 15 minutes late.
7:20 Arrive at nearest bus stop to discover the express bus does not even stop there. Look longingly at Starbuck's across the street and consider giving up, calling significant other to come and get me, and languidly sipping chocolatey beverages.
7:22 Re-commit to previous plan and commit to remaining ungrumpy despite setbacks. Start walk to next bus stop half a mile away. Wonder how I am going to entertain myself at bus stop now that I have quit smoking.
7:24 Smile confusedly at strange guy with big glasses and even bigger headphones who says something about it being safer on the inside. Think about mental illness, capitalism and gender.
7:29 Arrive at bus stop and sit next to Latino high school student with droopy pants and do-rag. Think about race, class, gender, and age. Wonder if I should read, attempt to meditate, or stare idly ahead. Decide to stare idly ahead
7:35 Wait for bus. Stare idly ahead.
7:40 Wait for bus. Begin to despair. Stare idly ahead.
7:45 Wait for bus. Despair increasing. Consider alternatives. Consider escaping to the Yukon. Consider spending the day in bed. Consider calling it quits and becoming a performance artist who wears only body paint and perhaps has a monkey that smokes cigarettes. Wonder what I would name the monkey.
7:48 Give up on bus. Decide to walk back to mechanics to discuss problems with car in person.
7:50 You probably guessed this one! See the bus coming. Run frantically back to bus stop, waving at driver to stop.
7:51 Paw through belongings looking for wallet, student id, fifty cents or anything that will allow me to ride the bus. Realize I have none of the above and no idea where my wallet is. Smile politely and tell the bus driver "never mind" while a chorus of voices in my head cry, rage, and encourage me to escape to the Yukon.
7:53 Re-commit to not being grumpy. Begin walking back to mechanics. Call significant other to come and pick me up at the Starbuck's.
7:57 While walking, wonder if the monkey's name might be Duke and consider what kind of cigarettes it smokes.
7:59 Realize I should be at work in 1 minute.
8:01 Meet with mechanic who seems to be talking down to me. Wonder if it is because I am a woman. Tell him there is a burning smell that I think is my brakes, and he asks me if it smells like a dragon. I say yes, yes it does.
8:07 Walk to Starbuck's. Lose balance while walking through bushes by mechanics and slide downhill. Wonder if I will learn to play the accordion as a performance artist.
8:10 Purchase chocolatey beverages with check. Set up laptop. Start to feel better until I realize this will be the third day this week that I am late AND I have to ask to leave early the next day. Berate self for being a slacker and begin feeling anxious about getting to work.
8:14 Write about how advertising images of women are oppressive. Realize that the ease with which I do this is one of the very few benefits of having an advanced degree in Women's Studies.
8:25 Significant other arrives and looks beautiful and freshly-woken. Calls himself a knight in shining Civic. Consider spending day with him. Or escaping to the Yukon together.
8:28 Drive back to apartment. Discuss what dragons smell like and how every river in China has its own dragon. Think maybe the world is okay.
8:35 Arrive back at apartment. Shower. Brush teeth. Comb hair.
8:55 Look for wallet. Cannot find wallet. Look some more. Realize wallet is in my car. At the mechanics.
8:56 Try to explain to significant other that this is exactly what happens whenever I try to do a simple chore, that the distance between my initial desire and its fulfillment grows longer and longer, splintering in strange ways, changing shapes and becoming all corners that feel awkward and heavy in my hand.
8:57 Envision life as performance artist. Wonder if I will start smoking again and, if so, if I will share a cigarette with my monkey, sitting on the street corner, waiting for the right moment to pick up my accordion and dance. Wonder where monkey will sleep. Will he sleep with me or will he have his own little bed? What if it is a lady monkey? Begin to like the idea of a lady monkey. Especially one that smokes. Vow never to dress up lady monkey in a pink princess dress. Wonder if lady monkey's name might be Josefina.
9:00 Drive back to mechanics. Struggle with remaining ungrumpy in face of setbacks
9:13 Arrive at mechanics. Retrieve wallet. Mechanic explains that the dragon smell is not my brakes by a veritable cornucopia of oil leaks that are covering the exhaust system with oil. Understand that he was not talking down to me because I was a woman, but because I am not able to distinguish the smell of burning brakes from burning oil from dragons.
9:17 Leave for work an hour and 17 minutes after I was supposed to be there.
9:24 Mechanic calls to tell me that the repairs will be over $300 dollars. Officially forego the struggle to remain ungrumpy and allow grumpiness to settle quietly under my skin. Wonder how hard it is to play the accordion.
9:30 Arrive at work 1.5 hours late. Read through emails. Decide not to work just yet and begin composing blog.
9:50 Wonder how long it will take to get car fixed. Consider calling mechanic. Realize that my phone is in significant other's car. Give up all hope of ever being in charge of my life in any way, shape or form.
9:52 Use mapquest to see how long it would take me to drive to the Yukon. Apparently it will take 58 hours and 20 minutes.
And that is how I roll.
Labels: how I roll