Wednesday, June 08, 2005
Best Long-Delayed Time-Line
As promised a while back, here's the story of the day when my phone got stole.
8:00 AM: Wake up, feel very ill. It's like all the weight in my body has shifted to my head. Don't feel like I can even go to work. I go to work. I think my Taco Bell binge is largely to blame for the illness.
9:45 AM: Throw up in workplace bathroom
10:00 AM: When I tell my boss that I haven't been feeling so good. He says "That's not good billing" and let's me go.
10:30 AM: I am home. I nap, epicly.
3:00'ish PM: Wake up. Remember that buddy Jeff and his Brazilian Girlfriend are leaving the city tonight. I want to see them before they go, I give Jeff a call. He tells me to hustle over.
4:00 PM: Having hustled, I arrive at 97th Street. There is a UHaul full of furniture parked in front of Jeff's place. Every possession I've known Jeff to possess has been thrown onto the sidewalk. Jeff is in the process of throwing possessions I never even knew about out onto the sidewalk. I meet the Girlfriend.
4:03 PM: Jeff explains a dire situation. He and the Girlfriend have a flight to catch at 9:00. Jeff needs to finish throwing away all his possessions that he hasn't packed up. Jeff needs to finish loading U-Haul trick with furniture and packed up possessions. Jeff needs to drive U-Haul down to storage in Chelsea, store belongings, return U-Haul to Harlem, and get to the airport. Jeff is in a bit of trouble.
4:05 PM: I begin to help toss stuff and sweep. I contemplate Jeff's dire situation.
4:30 PM: Situation continues to be dire. I propose to Jeff that he and the GF take off for Chelsea and offer to finish emptying out the apartment. Jeff accepts my offer gracioulsy.
4:31 PM: Jeff suggests, and I accept, that I also go to Chelsea with them and return the U-Haul to Harlem. Did I say that I accepted? I didn't accept immediately, it took some considering.
5:00 PM: The U-Haul is loaded, we begin our drive to Chelsea.
5:20 PM: Pulled over by cops operating routine safety inspections in front of the Javits Center. Friendly officer asks us "D'ya have any dead hookas in tha back?" We laugh nervously. No, of course not. No dead hookers, why would we have dead hookers? What sort of crazy talkis that?
5:30 PM: Ok, I'm making up times. But it's important that timelines have time in them.
5:31 PM: Arrive at Chelsea Storage. Jeff and the GF begin unloading the truck. I begin getting myself psyched up for the drive up to 132nd Street. I buy a bottle of water for the ride and a bag of chips.
5:50 PM: Hands are shaken, Bests are wished. I begin my drive.
5:51 PM: Driving from Chelsea to Harlem in the biggest U-Haul they make is like the funnest thing I've ever done I decide after one minute of driving. I don't know the NYC radio stations, I tune through the channels endlessly and think about Star Wars.
6:15 PM: As I approach 132nd and Broadway, I notice the McDonalds at 125th and Broadway. In the window they advertise very nicely priced Value Meals. My attention is particularly drawn to the $3.98 2 Chicken Fajita Value Meal. Man, I love McDonalds' chicken fajitas.
6:20 PM: Arrive at U-Haul in Harlem with time to spare (did I mention it closed at 7?) The fellows behind the counter have numerous questions for me and lots of papers for me to sign. I try to feign ignorance on all sorts of truck-rental related matters, but it turns out I don't have to, as I'm completely ignorant to the terms of the rental. I refuse to pay for anything, repeatedly say "Hey, it's their problem, not mine, I'm just returning it." I say this in a friendly, ignorant way. Not in a way that expresses a lack of willingness to take responsibility. Also, I was not willing to take responsibility for that truck, but I did sort of clean out the front seat.
6:25 PM: Start walking down Broadway to the 125th Street Subway stop. Take a picture of the car shown above. I'm really, really thinking about the Fajita Value Meal. Consider my summer rule to only eat fast food once a week (I invented this rule earlier in the day as I considered my actions at Taco Bell the night before.)
6:30 PM: I enter the 125th Street McDonalds. I've been working hard and doing good, haven't I? I deserve a little reward, don't I? Perhaps I'll request a receipt and bill it to Jeff. I order the 2 Fajita Value Meal, of course.
6:35 PM: I get a call from Patricia Young. I tell her that I'm at a McDonalds in Harlem and that I'll call her back in an hour. "What are you doing there?" "I'll explain later."
6:36 PM: I sit down at a corner table across from a gentleman who has taken his two daughters out to McDonalds for Happy Meals. I set my cell phone down on the table beside my tray. I shall never see it again.
X:XX PM: Did you know that I don't have a watch and that I just use my cell phone to tell time? It's true. I have no idea when I finished my dinner and sided my table, but I doubt it took me longer than 10 minutes. I walk over the the elevated 125th Street stop of 1/9 (although I hear there isn't a 9 train anymore, not that it ever made a difference to me). I sit on the platform, pleasantly waiting for the next train. I wonder what time it might be, so I reach into my pocket for my phone. Which isn't in my pocket. So I reach into the side pocket of my bag for my phone, as the side pocket of my bag is one of my favorite places to keep my phone. It isn't there. So I reach into the center pocket for my cell phone, which is also a pretty good place to keep my phone. But it isn't there. I check my pants pocket again for my phone, maybe I missed it the first time? Nope, still not there. The side pocket? Still not there. The other side pocket? Not there. It begins to occur to me that maybe I don't have my phone. A train pulls up, I decide I better go down to McDonalds to see if my phone was there.
X:XX PM: The woman sitting at the table where I had eaten a few minutes before kindly informs me that she "Hasn't seen no phone." I'm sorry to have bothered her. Across the aisle, the gentleman with the two daughters (who are still working on those McNuggets) suggests I ask the manager. Which is a likely thing for the man who took my phone to suggest. I ask to talk to the manager. It is very hard for her to grasp the concept of me leaving my phone, but eventually she starts to catch on. I suggest that maybe I accidentally threw it out with everything that was on my tray, so she has Andres take the trash bag out back and he and I go through it. No phone. The manager gives me her phone to call my phone. It has been turned off. By the man with the two daughters. If I were someone tough, like Laura Young, I would have gone into that McDonalds and started threatening people. But I am a tall white guy still wearing his work clothes, so I accept that my phone is gone, and head back to the subway.
X:XX PM: I swipe my metrocard. "Just Swiped" the turnstile tells me. Oh come on, it's like forever ago that I swiped it. Oh well. I walk down Broadway to the next stop, which isn't close. There is a light drizzle.
X:XX PM: I board the next subway, get off, catch the cross-town bus. My fellow bus riders are loud and rambunctious. They do not understand that I have been robbed of my cell phone and have a lot of people to call. And an apartment to empty out and clean.
X:XX PM: Arriving at the apartment it strikes me that there's twice as much stuff to get rid of as I remember there being when I left. The pile of possessions on the street has already been well picked-over.
X:XX PM: Having tossed many an item on the refuse pile, I now try to get the enormous box of food items emptied from the kitchen out to the curb. (The former tenants of the apartment decided not to empty the cuboards or refrigerator)(Something I Definitely Forgot to Say Earlier that is Very Important: Jeff wasn't the only one to move out of the apartment, all of his roommates moved out, he was just the last to go.) This is a difficult task for me as 1) The box is huge and very, very heavy (that's what I meant by "enormous" I suppose) 2) I only have one arm. I wind up dragging it down the hall and out to the front steps. When I get to the front steps the box rips open, letting its contents loose all over the steps. Passersby look on with bemusement. I am hot, I am sweaty. I am in office clothes. I remember that I'm not in perfect health. I am bound by the principles of the Scout Oath and Scout Law to remain, but I really could use a helpful Tenderfoot or two right now.
X:XX PM: As I wonder how to take care of the grocery spill (there don't seem to be any trashbags or decent recepticles left in the house) a young gentleman approaches me from down the street. Apparently he is the guy that owns the sidewalk. He inquires as to what it is that I think I am doing and if I know that I'm not supposed to just throw stuff out on the side of the sidewalk. I tell him that I do not know what it is that I'm doing and that I didn't know that I couldn't throw every last thing that was in the apartment out onto the sidewalk. He inquires as to how it is that I don't know these things and why it is that I am doing them. I tell him that I don't live there and I'm just helping and that everyone has moved out. This isn't a responsible enough answer for him. I apologize and explain that I'm just helping out and doing what I was told to do. I think that internally I'm
appealing to some sort of respondiat superior sort of rule, but this guy hasn't been to law school. I would say that the discussion gets a little heated, I try to explain that my cell phone has been stolen and that I can't call anyone to help me move the stuff back into the house or to a more suitable location and that I really, really don't know what I'm doing. He and I decide, less than amicably, that maybe I
should leave. Of course, there are the groceries all over the steps. I foolishly ask if he has a bag for me to put them in. His response is of the "Yeah, right, as if I'd help you" variety--he doesn't grasp how ready I am to leave these groceries all over his precious sidewalk and that it is now a favor from me to him that I clean them up as he owns the sidewalk and is responsible for all that occurs on it.
X:XX PM: I go inside and look for something I can put the groceries in. I decide to tear down some of the drapes and to wrap up everything in them. This puzzles the folk on the street, but I'm set on getting out of there as soon as I can.
X:XX PM: The best work I can do is done. A large box of casette tapesand a large box of non-perishable food items remain in the house. Some more sweeping could have been done, too. I leave with a bag full of brand new cooking oils and vinegars that I found in the cabinets. I decide to treat myself to a ride home on the M5, something I've always enjoyed doing. It turns out that an M5 stop is a little harder to find than I remembered (I thought 5th Avenue was just covered in them like bus stop chicken pox, it isn't). I wind up on some other bus, everything seems like it's going well until it makes a sudden turn into the west 30's. By no means do I get home quickly, but I do get home.
It was a long night, not all of it was good, but now I've replaced my phone and it is all nothing more than another story to me, like so many memories become.