{ Thursday, October 14, 2004 }

Standing Up

Wednesday afternoon at five twenty-five, I started getting a little testy. I was supposed to be meeting a boy approximately sixty-five blocks from work sometime between "ten minutes ago" and "five minutes from now". I shut down my computer, put on my purse, finally managed to interrupt to announce that I had to leave.

Okay, truth be told, around four thirty I could feel my eyes bugging out from the pressure in my skull. I was certain it was preceding and explosion. I was not in a good mood.

Dear Everyone Who Has Endured Listening to Me Rant and Rave about Papertowels or Office Supplies Any Time in the Last Five Months,

You are a better friend than I deserve. I'm sorry I pick such boring things to get ravingly angry over.

Thank you.

much love,

Dear Everyone Who Has No Idea What I Am Talking About Up There,

You should consider yourself very lucky. I'm sure it's terribly boring if you are not me, the tragic heroine in all of those stories.

Thanks for reading,

Okay, back to the story...

Drive, drive, drive. Forty blocks in eight minutes. We're doing okay. What do you mean there's no left turn arrow at this intersection? Fucking hell, I am out of cigarettes. It's a pretty big one. Even I have heard of both of these roads, and I don't know where anything is.

Waiting, waiting waiting, ten minutes later I get to turn left.

Eventually, I arrive. I'm like ten minutes late. Fifteen really. Okay, maybe he's late too. I drive by the meeting place once, twice, three times slowly. Don't see him. Maybe he's late from work too. I'll just run and get cigarettes.

What is this? WHY are there no gas stations? What's wrong with this city? How do I get back to where I was? Grids are not supposed to be this hard. I just wanted cigarettes...

Ten? minutes later, I arrive back at the spot, without cigarettes, considerably upset. No sign of him. There's no parking. I leave again. The debate starts on the radio, approximately eight minutes late according to the clocks at work and in the car, but the radio says that's on time.

Finally park the car. Calm down. Stand next to the car in the parking lot listening to the debate, looking for the boy. Repeat for forty-five minutes.

Start calling people. Ask for opinions about how long it is that I am supposed to wait. Catch ydelek, probably in the middle of ten very important school things. Explain the situation. Stand there talking, listening to the debate, smoking, looking for the boy for fifteen minutes.

She helps me try to find his phone number. I don't know what town he lives in and am not quite sure how to spell his last name. Actually, I remember that the phone is not in his name. She keeps looking. She also listens to the entire litany on papertowels and office supplies, which takes approximately twenty minutes between telling her what the scenery looks like and giving unhelpful suggestions for how to find the phone number.

Drive to the rally, keeping ydelek on the phone the entire time, except when I am calling the numbers she's providing me with. She could write the rest of this entry. The conversation largely consisted of me telling her all about the drive, the traffic, the boy (she thinks I can do better), the lights, counting the police cars...

Oh wait! We should be looking for another last name! Approximately the most common one in Arizona. I don't actually know the first name OR the city. Sorry about that! Nevermind.

Exit. They're closing this road. The only option is back on the highway. Well, that was fun.

Exit. Closed. How am I supposed to get across the lake if all the streets with bridges are closed? What is this? I am driving past Beach Park right now. I'm right there, but I can't get over the lake to attend.

Exit. Open! This is progress. Drive downtown. Look for parking. Twenty dollars. I can do better. Ten dollars. I have one dollar in cash. Five dollars... "I just drove over the chain thing that was supposed to keep me from parking in this lot. I didn't notice it until it was too late to change my mind."

Speculation on how long it'll take for me to get ticketed or towed. Find another enterance that says nothing about parking being for residents only and also is not chained off. Victory is mine.

Walk to the park. Inform ydelek of my every movement. It's all full of folks and is terribly chaotic. Follow some people through a small path next to a fence to the park. Arrive in the park.

"I think I'm here. I think I missed security. I am so confused. Wait. There are some guard rail things. I think I walk this way."

ydelek suggests I ask someone. I feel I have no choice but to just go the way the crowd is headed, because now I am part of a sea of humanity. ydelek shares my concern that there is no one handy to help me not get trampled.

Metal detectors! We've made it somewhere. Standing, standing, standing. One of approximately eight hundred other people standing right here. ydelek, me and nine thousand million other people within five feet of me listen to the Foo Fighters and learn that the fire marshall has declared that no one else is getting in.

There's a screen though and I can see what's happening. Suddenly, a woman in a blazer with an earpiece makes everyone clear a path. At more than one point, my feet are no longer on the ground, and yet I am moving backwards. A woman apologizes for being pushed into me. I apologize for being smashed into her boobs. It's a rare moment of non-rudeness in Arizona.

Suddenly, a truck backs up in the corridor we've created. There are approximately four inches between it and the crowd. I am still not quite sure that I am actually standing up. My thoughts naturally turn to Who Concerts and The Beverly Hills Fire. I think fear of being trampled is part of being a Cincinnatian.

ydelek and I listen to the Secret Service Agent and some man standing next to me nearly get into a fight, because she told him rather curtly that no more people were getting in and he asked a follow-up question. She was rather busy making sure the truck did not back over us and did not take lightly to being backtalked by some guy who hadn't been through security...

I seriously thought there might be violence.

Things settled down. The Foo Fighters finished their set. Kerry arrived. The damned phone finally died. The govenor speaks. The insane people standing near me apparently have a death wish and climb up onto the truck. Security is all over that. The man standing next to me declares that "No one that stupid can should be allowed to vote."

Kerry speaks. At one point, I turn around and realize that the crowd extends behind me for at least an eighth of a mile. We cheer. It's over. I follow the crowd out. Drive home. Call ydelek back. Tell her about what she missed. Arrive home. Turn off the car. Phone dies again.

Find the phone number. Call the boy. Straight to voicemail. Leave a message detailing how my end of "we missed each other" went. Call back in another hour. Still not ringing. One more hour. Leave another message. Do a reverse phone number look-up to idly see what we should have been looking for. Okay, maybe do six or seven. It's not listed, apparently.

Go to bed. Wake up. Feel like death. Realize there was no dinner anywhere in that story. Find clothes, shoes, toothbrush. Leave for work. Snap at everyone who tries to talk to me before noon, actually closing my door and answering more than one knock with a disgruntled "What!"...

Still haven't heard from the boy. Left another message while I was driving home from work (because obviously after the fiasco yesterday I learned the phone number), this one of the "I don't know if I should be worried or if I should stop calling..." variety, including my cell phone number. His turn.

Then I hit the grocery store, grabbing approximately two weeks' worth of frozen dinners, but nothing to drink. Get home and suspect I am terribly dehydrated. Read Ms. Magazine instead of going back to the store. It rendered me simultaneously motivated, depressed and angry, and yet, somehow, not hydrated...

So, now that I've finished telling you all about the last two days in sentence fragment form, I think I have to go buy some Gatorade or something. It might help my headache...

About One Year Ago: Hey, did you know that yesterday was approximately JV's Journal-versary? This last year has been so fast.

About Two Years Ago: Calling in sick to work causes me to have too much time, and so I write a really long entry all about doctors, I think. I don't know, I got bored and stopped reading after the fourth sentence.

posted by mary ann 9:59 PM