It’s Monday. If you live/work in DC chances are you won’t be reading this because it is a Federal Holiday and you have the day off from work. So hopefully you are out and about enjoying the great weather today. Reason #1,653 to hate my law firm life – no observance of Federal Holidays.
To make this day just that much more enjoyable, WMATA planned major track work on the Blue/Orange lines that would keep all the stations near my office out of commission over the weekend (no big deal) and then also today (uh…how am I going to get to work?) My normal bus route also doesn’t run on Holidays (seriously Columbus, you are really screwing with my day today) so I had to plan a complicated alternate route into work today. The little 4.5 mile distance between my apartment and my office ended up taking roughly 2 hours. Really, I should have just walked.
So all this free time on my hands this morning gave me too much time to do what I am a gold medalist at -- thinking too much and worrying.
I emailed two close friends recently, not really to discuss anything in particular let alone anything that I have on my plate right now (because sometimes you know better than to burden other people) but I referenced this sort of funk I go through every year – Birthday Hangover. The BH has nothing to do with if there were any real fun celebrations or activities that one would need to actually recover from (although I was so very happy that this year there were.) I think I tend to view all my adult birthdays as my own annual performance review for my life – what progress has been made, what goals have been accomplished, what are the areas for improvement, where might there be cause for concern. And someone else should really start doing these reviews for me because I am way too harsh on myself for my own good. (And as a side note, no, I was not as harsh on Temp Assistant!)
Saturday was kind of a sad day. I can’t say that it was any one thing. Probably more of a culmination of the feeling of too many things going on or too many worries lately. So I just spent the day alone. Like all alone, did not leave my apt, alone. I can be a bit of a hermit sometimes, usually it passes just as quickly as it happens. I was supposed to go out that night, but the plans fell through and I guess it was just as well. I probably wasn’t great company for anyone anyway.
Yesterday I tried for a better day. I forced myself up early and out of the apartment to run errands. Between groceries and other bags there was too much stuff to take up in one trip. First trip done and I thought “Oh it would be smart to take the trash out when I go for the rest of the bags!” So I did, feeling pretty darn proud of my being so effective and efficient. And I guess to balance out all that smart thinking, I realized on the way back from the car to the apartment that I my apt keys were back IN the apartment. That’s right, I had managed to lock myself out.
Yes, I keep my car and apartment keys separate (because I only ever drive on the weekends.) Yesterday I was just grateful I at least had my key card to get into the apt building. I am guessing from the crack on it that it had managed to break OFF of my apt key ring – awesome.
“Ok,” I thought quite calmly, “I will just go to the Property Manager’s apartment and pay the fine and get let back in. Sh*t happens, what can you do.” So I went to their apt (located in my own building thankfully) and knocked. I saw their one car outside which was a good sign, and I could hear the television on through the door. So I knocked again. I knocked LOUDER. I used the actual Door Knocker (maybe they were being a stickler about that?) and NOTHING. No response. I was knocking at all sorts of levels in various patterns and with varying amounts of force for a good 30-40 minutes. I tried knocking on other people’s doors and no one answered. Probably just as well because what was I going to ask them to do for me?
Now I panicked. What was I going to do? I had no phone to call anyone and didn't even have my wallet, it was all locked up safe and sound in the apt. Roommate was not going to be home for another couple days. I had the car key, the key card for the building, the shopping bags and that’s it. So I hauled my shopping bags back OUT to my car, got in and drove to my friend K’s apt. Literally praying Hail Marys out loud in the car to both calm myself down and ask God to please do me a solid and have her be at her apt.
I parked the car and ran up to the door…and could not for the LIFE OF ME remember her apartment number. So I just started dialing the different numbers on her floor – hey, at least I knew the right floor. And sometimes people would pick up, and sometimes they wouldn’t. Sometimes they spoke English, most times they didn’t. A few people got very nasty with me. One told me to leave before they called the police -- in hindsight, maybe I should have let them as my next thoughts involved going to a police station cause I didn’t know what else to do at that point. So after yelling her name a few times on the verrrrrryyyyyyy off chance she could hear me, I gave up and went back to my car. I got in and shut the door and just cried.
Cried because I was frustrated with myself and the situation. Cried because I seriously had nowhere to go and didn’t know what else to do. Sadly we have NO friendly neighbors in our apt. building. Not one. We have 2 groups that are always outside smoking so I thought maybe I could ask one of them if I could use their phone. But who would I call? The only number I know by heart anymore is my Pop-Pop’s. And he lives in New Jersey, so I don’t know what he could do to help me.
I was driving back to my apt, still crying because I felt so very alone. I didn’t have anyone who might try and text/call me and get concerned if I didn’t respond. I had no one expecting me somewhere on a lovely Sunday evening. I had nowhere to go and no one to worry about me.
Rational Deviled Megs was trying to think:
“Well couldn’t I just sleep in my car if I have to?”
“Hopefully the Prop Mgr will be better about answering their door during normal business hours tomorrow.”
“What if I sleep in the hallway outside my apt - will one of my crappy neighbors have a heart and realize something is wrong and offer to call the Prop Mgr for me?”
But she was getting wayyyyyyyyy overshadowed by Anxious & Worrisome Deviled Megs:
“Wait, is the Prop Mgr office going to be closed for Columbus day?!?”
“I can’t believe I know no one’s phone number that could help in a time like this.”
“Where can I go? I have a car but do I seriously have no place to go??”
“I can’t remember when I have ever felt this alone and helpless.”
And that last statement is a doozy. Because I do just about everything on my own and have for a loooooong time. I had a thought a while back that I was getting worried that just because I have gotten so adept at being self sufficient and independent that people just expect me to be okay that way, or worse, think that I really enjoy it. I do enjoy that I have the capability to do it. I don’t enjoy that yesterday I realized I could be in trouble or need help and have no one to worry about me or come looking for me.
Then Rational Deviled Megs took over and said, “This is bullsh*t. Someone is HOME in the Prop Mgr’s apt. So I will go back there and bang on that door until someone answers dammit!”
Which is what I did. Banged and pounded on the door for about 20-25 more minutes until I then started shouting AT the door. I had even found a pen and paper in my car and scribbled a PLEASE HELP note that I was ready to slide under their door until the Prop Mgr’s husband finally answered the door. And gave me such an angry “Why are you interrupting my watching football look” that I started to cry again. As I explained my situation I think he genuinely felt bad for me and gave me the keys to go upstairs and let myself back in to my apt.
I have never run up those stairs so fast in my life. When I got inside the door I felt such a wash of relief I almost needed to sit down. I collected myself and went back downstairs to return the keys. I thanked him profusely and returned back upstairs to my apartment.
And like that, I was alone again. I was still kind of upset about the whole ordeal and called my Mom. No answer. She regularly screens calls and sometimes I don’t make the cut so I didn’t even feel like trying to call her other line. And calling my Dad (if he even answered) would have gotten me a long lecture about how to NOT lock myself out of the apt.
I tried convincing a friend to come have drinks with me, watch some football/baseball. As usual, I got a “No.” Another friend was off on a date, so…back to being alone. At least now I was INSIDE my apartment, so it was definitely an improvement over crying in my car, don’t get me wrong. But you know when you have something bad happen, or even just a crap awful day, and the last thing you want or really even need is to be left all alone. That was me last night.
I don’t really know how to wrap this up and give it all some positive uplifting ending. I don’t feel horrible about the getting locked out (I mean, sh*t happens) and I don’t feel like “woe is me” that I didn't have anyone to turn to at the time. But I do feel….something. I wish I knew how to describe it so maybe I could start to UNfeel it.
Is there anyone else out there who has felt something like this before with some words of wisdom? And don’t tell me how to NOT lock myself out of the apt. in the future, my Dad’s got that one covered.