I need to tell you all about some troubling events that culminated in Lost Wednesday, October 6. I think I've come down with a case of Irrational Sunshine Syndrome, and I might need someone to help pull me back into a more normal mental morass.
It all started on Monday afternoon, when I parked too close to a fire hydrant. In my defense, it was near a corner, and I didn't overlap the red curb, and I'd seen many cars parked there before. It wasn't my finest judgment, I'll grant you, but sometimes searching for parking in this city is like hunting for a ghost orchid, in that it can turn your brain to chutney.
The next day was uplifting, because I remembered where I had parked on the first try. And then deflating, because when I got to that place, the car was gone.
When I called the police, I learned that my car was in a tow pound 15 blocks away, but I'd have to travel 180 blocks in order to pay for it, and then bring the receipt all the way back to my neighborhood. Ridiculous, right? But did I gnash my garments and rend my teeth?
I instead thought: Hey, that tow pound is right there on the West Side Highway, and I've biked past it a hundred times. I'll turn a bad situation upside-down and get some exercise!
So I biked to the NYPD TowQuarters--a dour, filthy, windowless prism with a line of cashier's windows along one wall and several signs urging us to Please Be Patient: Our Employees Are Horribly Underincentivized. I turned in my paperwork and waited 20 minutes until my name was called. Brilliant! I'll have my wheels back by lunch!
Not quite. My driver's license has expired.
This was all perfectly understandable. Every three years, the great state of New York has mailed me a renewal notice. But since I had moved, and my forwarding thingy had expired, I never got the latest one. And as of now, I was an unlicensed driver who couldn't bail his wheels out of the hoosegow. But did I curse my existence and launch a fusillade of profanity?
I instead reasoned that I had been meaning to replace my license for years; the photo was from 1993, when I had a full head of fluffy black hair, and lately airport security people had been giving me the stink-eye. So I thought: Onward to the DMV!
(If at this point you want to hold me down and beat me with a bag of oranges, rest assured that this post is making me far sicker than it could ever you. If you don't want to read on, please just walk away. I understand.)
Still with me? Great. You're a good soul.
I biked over to the License X-Press, which I never knew existed, and within seconds an officious, pear-shaped woman in a burgundy blazer told me I couldn't bring my bike inside. Did I plead with her, or invoke Jesus's name as I indicated all the out-the-way nooks where my bike could easily be ensconced?
I did do that, actually, because she was being a tool. She said she was sorry, but she totally didn't look it, and I told her so. And then I spent 15 minutes trying to find a bike rack that didn't have 75 post-apocalyptic messenger bikes bolted to it. But when I got back, did I punctuate the inconvenience with rolled eyes and/or a rude gesture?
I apologized and told her she was only doing her job! What the hell?
There was other drama, too. While I was filling out my paperwork, I thought I heard a guy say that his license had expired, and I thought I heard a woman tell that guy that he had to re-qualify from scratch. And as I traveled from window to window, I thought what a pain it would be to have to shitcan my Columbus Day roadtrip with the boys and instead spend the weekend studying questions like: "The risk of death is ___ times greater if you are thrown from a vehicle than if you remain in the vehicle during a crash."
But it was not to be. I was out of there in 15 minutes with a new license, chuffed with the knowledge that, if my car hadn't been towed, I would never have known my license was borked. And if I'd been pulled over, some grumpy cop could have detained me and impounded my car, with my kids in it. I walked away six hours later, and some 300 bucks lighter, happy to grasp that sometimes the shitwave you experience is dwarfed by the shitwave you avoid.
I know. I don't get it, either. Is any of you able to e-mail me a good bitchslap to help dislodge this revolting, Osmondesque wave of unconditional goodwill? I'd appreciate it.