It’s normal for me to come back from work and get surprised in some way or the other. No no, not the husband cooking for me, lighting candles and putting garland on my portrait kinda surprise. That sorta thing will surely facilitate my name becoming a part of statistics for heart attack deaths. I was talking about pleasant ones like someone parking their car on my spot. I look forward to this. I rub my hands in glee, park my car in some public spot that I find after 20 minutes and a mile away from my apartment, lug myself back in the snow to the place where the culprit has parked his car. If you think this is too much work to derive pleasures from, stop bothering me in the middle of my narration. So I look around hoping the owner doesn’t suddenly appear when I am getting to the best part of the deal. I pull out my weapon- disgusting orange stickers that were handed to me by the building Supervisor, old man Jim. I peel them off and stick them liberally all over the car and proceed to my apartment feeling satisfied.
Old man Jim gave a stack of these stickers to calm me down once when I complained about the 100 bucks a month that I pay for the building parking. If I wanted exercise that bad, I would be giving the money to the gym, I argued. He said the building covered their basis and that it wasn’t their fault. Yes, there is a nondescript sign behind the bushes that says-… wait let me go closer to check what it says- Not Public Parking. Violators will be towed at their own expense. Apparently towing companies weren't told. The stickers would do the trick, he said. The stickers are really difficult to remove and can cause public humiliation. It says- Illegal Parking- Can be Towed. I wonder why I still see cars with scraped off stickers on my spot every day.
Yesterday I got back from work and lo!.. no stray car (sticker seemed to have worked at last) and so I glided into my spot and was wondering what I could do with all that extra time I had saved. As I was thinking of ways, I stepped into the elevator and tried to hit the 5 button after the door closed. It (the elevator) decided to retire from services just after I had walked in. The sinking feeling was not mental… the elevator actually was going below the first floor and came to a jerking halt. Swell! All my life I had been waiting for this moment. Now I can press that red button that says ‘In case of Emergency’ without feeling stupid. With trembling fingers, I gingerly pressed the button fully expecting the earth to split open or worse, my hubby materializing from somewhere and smacking my hand in admonishment. Nothing happened. Maybe I should give it some time. Meanwhile I pressed the ‘Alarm’ button. I could hear a bird chirping in Alaska, but I didn’t hear any alarm going off.
Maybe I ought to panic at least now. Oh wait, I had a cell phone. I called Pi sitting on the fifth floor not aware of his wife’s captivity in the Venus flytrap. He said he would try getting me out. Try? Is that the word he used?! I asked him to get the fire department here for my rescue operation. They would know how to break open the door and would have the required equipment. I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t look as handsome as a fireman.
I could have called them myself, but then I had to use all my cell-phone charge in letting my friends know about my plight in the hope of getting them concerned. When they started talking about their dinner plans and recipes, I was beginning to be concerned if they were friends in the first place. Anyway, as I hadn’t heard from hubby and was beginning to form thoughts of him partying with his friends, I thought of something that I could do to salvage this situation. I pulled out my lipstick and touched up my makeup. Eventually Pi would get hungry and they would save me and there might be local press. I better look good.
After an excruciating hour, I heard a faint knock and Pi asked me if I was still there. I screamed, ‘Do you think I had that much alcohol to just evaporate? Is the Fire Department here finally?’
I heard some pushing and shoving of the door and old man Jim’s drunk voice, ‘Hope you have a magazine to keep you busy. Hahaha!’
‘I wish I had planned this, Jimmy. I would have even brought some chips and coke and done some accounts while I am here.’ I was convinced that the building authorities had a problem only with me. I am the center of some building politics here. Victim of hate crime.
After what seemed like a complete waste of my time, the door slid open as I was sitting on the elevator floor twiddling my thumbs. No cameras straining to catch a glimpse of me, no neighbors standing with flowers, no CNN reporters, not even the friggin firemen. Just drunk ol’ Jim apologizing and feeling pleased with himself as I climbed out of the elevator shaft from somewhere between the basement and the ground floor. Life went back to being sucky just when it seemed promising.
This time I didn’t bother getting on the other elevator in spite of Jim’s assurance through his drunken teeth. Took the stairs. Fancy how nature conspires in making sure I get my daily dose of exercise.