You seem to enjoy the tales of my many stupidity/enthusiasm-driven mistakes. For this reason, I have decided to unveil my second-most unfortunate story of all time (first-most unfortunate story to follow shortly - if I decide you are ready for it... ) Every word of this story is completely true-to-life (or at least my best recollection of it). I have not embellished a single detail (aside from adding exact times to events that were just a blur of stress and anger. Oh, and the part about the bagel. It may have been a croissant.)
I feel thoroughly confident that I have already experienced the rock-bottom of my life.
Any one of the events that transpired on that fateful day would have been pretty innocuous as an isolated incident. But put them all together in a string of odds-defying bad luck, and you will find yourself in the midst of a crisis that not even Jon Krakauer would be able to comprehend completely.
Just before my Junior year of college, I saw a guitar in a pawn shop and suddenly decided that I wanted to be a musician - a decision I undecided about 3 weeks later, but not before enrolling in an "introduction to guitar" course. The course seemed like the perfect way to launch my rock star career. I was positively batty over the idea - until I actually tried to learn to play the guitar.
If you have ever been forced to sit for an hour-and-a-half in a room full of 35 people plucking away on 35 out-of-tune guitars, you may understand why I reconsidered my musical aspirations.
Once I undecided my decision, it was already too late to drop the course without first filling out a "drop slip" which is a little yellow form, to be signed by your instructor and the dean of your department, detailing your reasons for dropping the class (ADHD, poor impulse control, lack of musical aptitude, chronically bleeding ears).
Being the responsible person that I am, I stopped attending class for a few weeks, then waited until the last possible moment to try and turn in my drop form.
To tell you the truth, I forgot that I even needed to turn anything in until approximately 2:00 PM on that blemish of a day. Boyfriend called to remind me that I had to turn in my drop slip by 4:30 PM or I would fail the course ("Personal Calendar" is just one of Boyfriend's many and diverse functions.)
Anyway, I was on campus, eating a bagel, when I got the call. I simultaneously choked down the rest of the bagel and sprinted to the bus stop so that I could get home and start rifling through the drawer where I shove all my "important documents."
The stupid bagel cost me valuable seconds. I got to the bus stop just in time to see the bus driving away.
I heaved a sigh and began the 1.5-mile trek home.
I arrived at my apartment, sweaty and disheveled, just a touch after 2:30 PM. I began frantically looking for that little yellow slip - the antidote to certain academic failure.
I did not find it.
I reasoned that maybe the slip was at Boyfriend's apartment, since I also had an "important documents" pile there. However, boyfriend was at track practice already and he had his keys with him (I didn't have a set of keys to Boyfriend's apartment. He never got around to making an extra one for me and I didn't want to be that girlfriend and badger him about it). I managed to call him just before he headed out for his run (my only stroke of luck that day) and he agreed to run the keys by my apartment.
I met boyfriend in front of my apartment at exactly 2:48 PM. He handed me his keys and went merrily on his way.
I was starting to feel the pressure of the impending 4:30 deadline, so I rushed to my car. I unlocked my door, bumped my head on the doorframe as I was getting in, turned the keys in the ignition and...
It was not the first time that week that I had left my headlights on. It was actually a pretty regular occurrence.
I blame it on my mom.
You see, my mom also drove a Honda. Hondas are equipped with a neat little beeping sound which is supposed to warn you when your door is opened and your keys are left in the ignition or your lights are left on. Growing up, I heard the sound whenever my mom opened her car door. The sound was meaningless to a child who did not yet understand the minutiae of operating a motor vehicle, so my brain learned to ignore it. I eventually became completely desensitized to it. Now, I have to rely completely on my own awareness to remember to turn off my lights, and my awareness really is not that reliable.
Sadly, no amount of blaming my mother would bring my car back to life.
I stood in the street flagging down motorists for nearly 20 minutes before some V-neck-wearing Bulgarian giant with dreadlocks and a bad case of B.O. was kind enough to stop and help me push-start my vehicle.
It was 3:16 PM when I finally started the drive to Boyfriend's apartment. This particular drive was nearly impossible to complete in a timely manner since my city's traffic management is run by - well, I doubt that it is run by anything because no human could possibly be that fallible.
I should have walked. The one-mile stretch between my apartment and Boyfriend's apartment took me nearly 15 minutes to navigate by car.
If I had walked, I may have avoided the ensuing drama entirely.
I was in a hurry when I pulled up to Boyfriend's place. I left my car running and dashed up the three flights of stairs to his door.
I was engulfed by panic when I could not find my form.
After tearing through the entire apartment, I finally decided to check my car...
...my still-running car...
...the one with all the doors locked...
...the one with the little yellow drop form sitting in plain sight on the passenger seat.
F*CK!!!! (but also yay?)
How did I not see it before???
I had a Hide-A-Key. It was in a little magnetic case. Stuck to the refrigerator. At my apartment. Who puts their Hide-A-Key on their refrigerator? Apparently I do.
I ran as fast as I could (barefoot, because I just happened to be wearing heels that day - I never wear heels, but for some ungodly reason felt it was a good idea to wear them on that particular f*cking day) back to my apartment.
When I got there, it was 3:57 PM. I sprinted up my stairs to find... yet another locked door that I did not presently have the key to. I kept my apartment keys on the same keychain as my car keys - like most respectable people - and I did not think things through to the point of realizing I would need my car keys to get my house keys to get my Hide-A-Key to get my car keys.
I slumped to the ground outside my door, face smashed into the disgusting carpet. The janitor, who was probably wondering if dead-body-cleanup fell under his jurisdiction, stepped over my limp form -- the janitor!!
I sprang to life (probably prompting the janitor to wonder if zombie-crisis-mitigation fell under his jurisdiction) and begged the janitor to use his skeleton key to let me into my apartment.
"You live here?" He asked.
"Uh-huh," I responded.
And just like that, I was granted access to my apartment. I didn't know whether to feel happy or scared for my future safety, but at least I was one step closer to turning in my godforsaken drop form.
It was 4:06 PM. I snatched my Hide-A-Key from the fridge and ran back to Boyfriend's place to retrieve my car and the precious form contained within.
I got there at 4:11 and unlocked my car. I got in, bumped my head again and sped off toward campus, which was two traffic-filled miles away.
I parked in front of the Registrar's office (not bothering to buy a .75 parking stub which ended up garnering me a $15 ticket) and sprinted up the stairs.
It was 4:34 PM. The Registrar's station was closed for the day and it was final: my grade-point average was going to be annihilated by a 3-credit music course.
As I was turning around to go find a bathroom to cry in, a tiny pink note taped to the Registrar's desk caught my eye. It had that day's date written neatly in the upper left-hand corner. It read:
Drop slips due tomorrow by 4:30!!!!