After I served Bill Nye his decaf, I was booted out of the guest house.
You see, I had miscalculated in a most egregious manner. I thought my last day was January 27th.
No, my last day was actually that day, January 26th. As I ignorantly made more coffee for the customers that came after the Planetary Society had left to look for aliens, a G-man wearing black sunglasses appeared at the restaurant.
He escorted me back to my room and stood there, while I packed my life.
Two people were supposed to check into my room at 2 p.m.
It was now 1 p.m., and I still had 27 boxes to pack full of books, clothes, dog supplies, and wigs.
The G-man stood there, immutable. He didn’t crack a smile, and he didn’t move one inch from the door. When I momentarily leave to get some water, I hear: “I hate dogs.” I turn around, but all I see is the G-man.
I threw everything I could find, including a dirty paper cup, into the boxes. Then, staff from the guest house magically appeared and carried my boxes to the entrance, where my car was supposed to be parked nearby.
Only that my car was not there. I had completely forgotten to bring my car to the guest house.
So I sprint to the parking lot of the Presbyterian Hospital where my car is parked, and when I go to pay my ticket, I can’t find it. The pocket in my purse where it was supposed to be is proudly missing the ticket.
The parking attendant looks at me, concerned. “Honey, where’s your ticket?”
At which point, I say, “I don’t know.”
“Where did you park your car?”
This always happens to me. I can never remember where I park my car in a parking lot.
“I don’t know.” I say. I realize I can’t breathe.
Her eyes widen, and she puts her hand on my shoulder. “You need to calm down. What is your car’s license plate number?”
“I don’t know either,” I say, and it’s true. I have no idea. I wonder if the G-man has decided to kill George Lucas in vengeance for me not having had my car ready at the entrance for move out.
“Ok,” she says gently. “What does it look like, what make is it?”
“Grey…Nissan Rogue…Grey, just…yeah.”
“How long has it been parked here?”
This I don’t remember either, so I just shake my head. My throat feels tight.
“Don’t worry.” She takes out a large, green book encyclopedic tome. With her purple fingernail, she starts looking for a grey Nissan Rogue. “If it’s been here for more than a day, then our security guard has written down every make of every car, along with its license plate, to keep inventory.”
Now I realize I can’t swallow.
“Would you say the car has been here for over a week?”
I shake my head, but when I try to answer, all that comes out of my mouth is stomach acid.
I have just emptied my stomach on the kind woman’s right tennis shoe. She recoils in horror, and I run to the nearby bushes in shame. After I finish retching, I come back empty of stomach contents but full of embarrassment.
“I am so sorry. I am so so so sorry. I just…I suddenly felt ill. I’m so sorry, oh God, let me clean that up. Where can I find paper or towels? Is there a mop?”
I see her shake her shoe in disgust.
I continue. “I think I may have parked my car on the fourth floor? No…maybe the third floor? Could you please tell me where the janitor is so I can clean up my own mess. I am so sorry m’am, it wasn’t on purpose.”
She picks up the phone and calls for someone. Then, she looks up and says: “I’ve found seven grey Nissan Rogues parked here. It would be helpful if you knew the plate number.”
Suddenly, the Universe showed mercy upon me, and I remembered the car’s license plate. I give her the license plate. A man from the hospital emerges dragging a mop, a bucket, and cigarette.
“I’m so sorry,” I keep saying. The lady looks at me and says, “It’s on the fourth floor, your car. Along with three other grey Nissan Rogues. I hope that’s helpful?” She smiles weakly.
“Now, let’s see when you parked it. Wow, um…” She stares at the book. “It says here you parked it a week ago.” That sounds about right. I greet the janitor and tell him that I’ll clean up the mess on the floor. He gladly gives me the mop and bucket and promptly leaves with his cigarette. As I’m cleaning, the lady says:
“Honey, um, have you considered getting a monthly pass, you know, so that you don’t end up paying so much money every time you park your car here?”
“Too expensive,” I say mopping the floor. “Plus, I’ll be moving today to a place far away from here, and it’ll have its own parking spot.”
She looks at me dubiously.
“Well, ok. It’s 79.15.”
“WHAT?” I stop mopping.
“I’m sorry. I already took out the fee for losing your ticket.”
“I…,” I give her my credit card and just keep mopping.
Sometimes you just need to keep on mopping.