Monday, August 27, 2012

The Key to Success: How I Weathered My First "Adult" Crisis

Today started out neatly enough. Slept in a bit, hit the gym, made a health-conscious breakfast, prepped (stress-free) for class, et cetera. Well, my cable situation is still a debacle that has yet to be resolved. Totally my fault. Class was refreshingly anxiety-free and went smoothly. As I got in my car afterward, I remembered I had just under a quarter-tank of gas. I thought I'd trek the extra nine-tenths of a mile to Kroger to use my $0.20/gallon discount, even though my tummy was starting to rumble and I kind of had to pee. Here's where the shit hit the fan. And continued to splatter all over my face.
I pulled in around 7:30, grabbed my belongings, and began the ascent toward a movie, leftover stir fry, and a cup of tea. But no. My key jammed in the deadbolt, stuck about three-fourths of the way in. No biggie. The lock is a little funny and it's always been a tight fit, so I took the key out and tried again. And again. And again. Until my fingers were all but bleeding. It was starting to get dark, and I was starting to skip right over frustrated to make a beeline for pissed.
I live alone, so there was no roommate to come rescue me before panic set in. I don't know any of my neighbors because I'm never home long enough to socialize around here. I thought seriously about knocking on someone's door anyway, just for comparison's sake. Maybe I'm just a weakling, I thought, as I crossed off that idea from my What the F#$& Do I Do Now list. I dug out my cell phone and searched for the apartment complex number. Alas, I had never added it. No matter -- that's what Google is for, my blends.
I typed in the name of my complex, praying that it listed an after-hours emergency number. Pshhh, of course not! I dialed the main number, (im)patiently listening to my options in multiple languages. Finally, after practically dialing a foreign country, I pressed "1" for an emergency request that could not wait until normal business hours. Sleeping on my doorstep? So not grad-school chic.
I left a message with an automated answering service, praying that the complex's promise to return my call momentarily would actually come to fruition. [Mind you, all of this occurred in the span of five minutes.] Sure enough, I got some southern-sounding, rap-loving maintenance dude 4 minutes later. My heart (and my bladder) sank when he told me he had just been at the complex and was now 30 minutes away. He promised to come as soon as possible, but reported that he was between 30 and 45 minutes away by the time we hung up.
I was feeling a little better about my shituation as I trudged back to my car. I had drained the last of my water, and I had eaten my granola bar during our class break around 5:45. By this time, it was 7:50, and I was ready to be sitting in comfy clothes on my couch. Ever the relentless Productivity Nazi, however, I dug out my textbook and read 12 pages by the rapidly fading sunlight. I was so bored that I even pulled out my high-powered mini flashlight to read more to entertain myself.
When 30 minutes had passed, I reluctantly rolled up my car windows, packed up my stuff (again) and waited outside my apartment. I'm sure the teenaged passersby who saw me casually facing my apartment reading a book about grief, loss, and trauma made a few snap decisions about me tonight.
Finally, around 8:45, after an hour and 15 minutes of waiting and being eaten alive by mosquitoes, a very nice gentleman arrived to let me in. I yelled, Am I glad to see you! as he approached me. We both chuckled awkwardly as I told him I was glad I wasn't the only one who couldn't fit the key in the deadbolt. After a few minutes and a drop or two of metal lubricant, he fixed me right up. I have truly never been more glad to see the front hallway of my apartment. I kept thanking my lucky stars that I didn't have perishable groceries with me, that I didn't have a restroom emergency, that it wasn't blisteringly hot or subzero temperatures, that I didn't need to get any work done tonight, that I don't have a pet who desperately needed to be let out, and the list goes on.
I also thanked my lucky stars (a.k.a. Jesus) that I didn't panic. I thought logically and I did exactly what I thought my mother would have done in my situation. Except that she wouldn't have had any qualms about knocking on her neighbors' doors. In fact, she probably would have exchanged recipes with them and found out that they all knew the same people growing up in Craigsville. The point is, I'm proud of myself for surviving my first crisis in Big Girl World! Now, if a real crisis ever happens... all bets are off.

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