Thursday, December 5, 2013

A terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day in four chapters.

The days directly leading up to a marathon can potentially be some pretty stressful days. I analyze every morsel of food and every ounce of liquid that enters my body for its nutritional merit (or lack thereof) and dwell on how this extra chocolate chip cookie on Tuesday is TOTALLY going to come back to haunt me somewhere around mile 23 on Sunday and then I'm going probably going to puke or cramp or worst of all WALK and I'm going to hate myself FOREVER.

I do everything I can to minimize stress and stay off of my feet as much as possible. This should be kept in mind in the telling of the events that transpired a few Thursdays ago, the day that I was to drive from Boston to Philadelphia for the marathon.


I woke up on Thursday morning in my usual early morning daze and pulled myself into the bathroom where I commenced my morning instagram, Facebook, snapchat, twitter, instagram, Facebook, snapchat, twitter, e-mail, instagram, twitter, snapchat checking, lather, rinse, repeat while brushing my teeth. For some reason on this particular morning, I fumbled as I went to place my phone on top of the toilet and watched in horrified slow motion as my iPhone fell into the toilet bowl.

With every survival instinct kicked into high gear - PHONE. NO. PHONE. CAN'T. LIVE. WITHOUT. PHONE. NO. NO. NO. - I snatched my phone from the toilet water almost instantly. Panicked, I raced to the kitchen and started rummaging through my cabinets, completely naked, looking for rice because I've heard that putting your phone in a bag of rice can fix water damage. That's when I noticed my next door neighbors were in their driveway, directly adjacent to my expansive kitchen windows, loading their kid into the car.

I dropped into a naked ass crouch and scooted over to the next cabinet and pulled a box of Rice-a-Roni off the shelf. Why do I have this? I don't even remember buying this? Is Rice-a-Roni even real rice? I shot up as I tore the top off the box, remembered again about the neighbors, shot back down and dumped the contents of the box into a plastic bag. All seemed to be working perfectly fine with my phone, but I wasn't taking any chances. And if it smelled like artificial rice substitute for the next few days, so be it.

By now, the clock was ticking away, I wasn't even finished packing for Philadelphia, I needed to shower, I had to leave for work in 15 minutes, AND JESUS CHRIST I DON'T HAVE ANY MILK FOR MY CEREAL. Needless to say, the morning anxiety didn't subside until I walked into my office an hour later, breathless, flustered, and utterly discombobulated.


Flash forward a couple hours my boss and I are at lunch at a Cosi across the street from our office. I had decided at this point that my phone was safely functioning at full capacity after a morning in the Rice-a-Roni bag and no apparent damage was evident.

Now, a few months ago I had the genius idea to combine the most necessary elements of my wallet with my iPhone case and viola! I had a protective iPhone case that also had a pocket for up to three of my holiest of wallet inhabitants: my license, my credit card, and my Charliecard. For those who don't live in Boston, that's my monthly MBTA pass. Best of all: No need to carry a purse!

After shooting off a quick email while sitting at the table, I placed my phone into my coat pocket and hung my coat on the back of my chair. No more than 20 minutes later, I put my coat back on to head back to the office and when I stuck my hands in my pockets, I realized they were empty.
A frantic search of table, chairs, floor, and trash can was fruitless. The phone had vanished. No, let me rephrase that: My phone, license, credit card, and Charliecard had vanished. WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK?!

Minutes later I'm back in my office and with the help of Find My iPhone on my computer, I see that my phone is making its way in and out of stores of Downtown Crossing. I immediately pull up my online credit card statement.

First, this motherfucker went to Payless Shoes and bought what I approximate to be eight pairs of shitty shoes. There was a Macy's less than a block away. They could have had a the best day of my fantasy life in that department store, stocking up on kitchen supplies and winter coats and expensive glass vases and this motherfucker goes to Payless. Get yourself some Ralph Lauren. Buy some real leather boots. Get a fucking fancy ass watch. Pick out a pocketbook that is way out of my price range. IDIOT. There was a Verizon store across the street. Buy yourself the new iPhone, you dipshit. Oh wait, you didn't need to do that BECAUSE YOU STOLE MINE.

THEN they went to Subway and bought what I also approximate to be 23 sandwiches and a cookie. WHO THE FUCK SPENDS THAT MUCH MONEY ON SUBWAY SANDWICHES? This motherfucker. There was the fucking Mandarin Oriental around the corner. GO GET A FILET AND $19 COCKTAIL. GO TO THE RITZ TEA ROOM AND ORDER A $30 POT OF HOT WATER AND TEA BAGS. WHY DO I NEED TO TELL YOU THESE THINGS?!

They then disappear into the depths of the MBTA with my Charliecard. I bet they had a fucking field day riding the subway all day long because it was free. I bet they did pull ups on the overhead hand bars and danced through the turnstiles. I bet they hopped on the bus and boogied down the aisle, not because they needed to take the bus, but because they could do it for free. I bet they only went one stop. And then I bet they did it again.

I cancelled my credit card, filled out any necessary online applications to get a new license and waited. I sat there stewing over this asshole's free public transportation rides, lunch meat sandwiches and cheap-ass shoes, waiting for the little green Find My iPhone dot to reappear back on the screen once they emerged above ground.


Panicked, I called the cops.


After hanging up with a very reassuring dispatch operator I once again refreshed my screen and there was the green dot … in Roxbury. Somehow, I had accidentally tracked my old iPod, which was, in fact, in my apartment sitting in a speaker docking station. I wasn't being robbed. They weren't at my apartment. And as my boyfriend reminded me, my license still had my old Scituate address printed on it.

Ohhhhhhhhhhh dear. Can you get arrested for being an idiot? Because I'm pretty sure what I just did was so stupid it's against the law. When in doubt, remain calm and play dumb. My office phone rang. It was the Somerville police dispatcher (oh, Christ). She had dispatched three (!!!) police cars to check my apartment. They found a white male on the property to claimed to the plumber (he was). They checked all the windows and doors and everything seemed to be secure (uh huh). If I was at all uneasy when I got home that evening they would be happy to come back and walk me through the apartment to double check once again from the inside (holy god I'm an asshole).

I thanked her profusely and hung up the phone.

Now, the iPhone has this wonderful little option to switch your phone into "lost" mode from your computer or another device and send a message to the locked screen in case anyone finds it. That means I had the unique experience of being able to send messages to the person who was now in possession of my stolen iPhone.

So I sent a message hoping for maybe a drop of remorse brought on by the high sodium levels from too much lunch meat:

Lost phone. If found please call 508-xxx-xxxx. Thank you!!

An hour later my hope had deflated:

Stolen phone. Please call 508-xxx-xxxx.

I watched that little green dot moving up and down the streets of Roxbury. And then I snapped.


And that's when the little green dot disappeared from my life forever. I assume I spooked them and they smashed the phone. Jokes on them though because they were carrying around a phone all day that had just that very morning been in my toilet. SUCKERS!


Phone down. Credit card down. All I needed now was a new license so I could drive the 350+ miles from Boston to Philadelphia in just a few hours. I'd also need an ID to pick up my race packet the following morning because, you know, I WAS RUNNING A FUCKING MARATHON THAT WEEKEND.

Luckily, when shit hits the fan when you're in the downtown of a major city, things that can calm that shit storm are usually within walking distance. I hoofed it from my office the 10 minutes to the Chinatown RMV. And yes, a Registry of Motor Vehicles in Chinatown is EXACTLY what you'd imagine it to be. (Insert Asian driving stereotype joke here.)

I checked in at the front desk, got my number (A 240), and proceeded to the waiting room where at 2 p.m. on a Thursday afternoon I hoped I might have a chance of getting in and out relatively quickly and (this should come as no surprise now) they were on number … A 70. And the room was filled with … people … all types of people. Just … people. Once again, EXACTLY the type of people you'd imagine to be slumped over on a bench a Chinatown RMV on a Thursday afternoon.

There were no available spots on any of the benches and having spent a similar few hours not long ago at the Social Security office, I preferred to stand by myself and off to the side. It's cold and flu season, do you think I wanted to touch ANYTHING in that room? And with all of that … breath going on? Ew.

Infinity minutes later, it hit me. Maybe I wasn't actually in the RMV. Maybe I had a LOST situation on my hands and while I THOUGHT I was in the RMV I was actually already DEAD THE WHOLE TIME AND I JUST DIDN'T KNOW IT YET?

When it was finally my turn, I walked briskly to the designated desk. In order to get a new license you need, at the very least, your social security card. And because I always have a "situation," here was mine: Just a few weeks prior, I went to the social security office to change my last name back to my maiden name and get a new social security card. My next step was to change the name on my passport because I will be traveling internationally soon (RIGHT?! More to come on that soon!). Then, once my new social security card had come, I would then go to the RMV to take the same corrective action on my license. Only I didn't have my card with me because I wasn't expecting to wind up in the RMV that day. But I needed my license to drive down to Philadelphia for six hours and again to get my race packet. I didn't have any backup ID because my passport was still floating around in somewhere between the U.S. passport office and my mailbox. And by the way, someone stole my license and I'm worried about fraud, can you please put a hold on that?

In summary: I had no passport, no social security card, and now no license. And I was fairly certain my current license was being sold to a similarly built blond crack addict who would no doubt use it to open up a bank account in my name and ruin my credit forever.

As you might imagine, my situation thoroughly flummoxed my RMV employee. After repeating my predicament three times, each time at a slightly slower speed, a light bulb seemed to finally go off.

"Oh. I can't do that. I need your social security card to see that you changed your name. You see, we're connected to social security. We're all the government."

"Yes, but since your system is connected to the social security system since you are both the government, can't you just confirm in your system that my name had been changed?"

And then she ever-so-slowly waddled to the other end of the room to make a phone call and ever-so-slowly waddled back. This happened a total of three times. And each time she returned to me, I repeated my request but phrased it differently, hoping that some combination of the words I was trying to portray would somehow make this work out for me.

"I see you have my social security information pulled up on your computer screen there. See how that's my picture? It's me. Also, see how it says my name was changed to Hanahan last week? See it says so right there. I can see it."

"Yes but I need to see your card so I can put it into our system for confirmation so I know it happened at social security."

"But you said your system was connected to the social security system and I see that you could pull it up right there. Isn't that confirmation? You are the government. If it's in the system, it happened."

Finally, she had me come with her to her supervisor who was in the middle of servicing another RMV customer. I explained my situation for the seventh time, she pulled up my social security information, gave me the once over, and nodded her approval. "It says right there her name's been changed. It's in the system." She then turned to me. "So now the old license with your old name is invalid anyway so no one can do anything with it. Don't worry about the theft."


So we ever-so-slowly waddled back to my RMV employee's computer so she could print me out a new, temporary paper ID with my new name and address to match my social security number.

"Here you go, your new license should arrive in the mail in seven to 10 days. There will be a hold on the license for your safety."

"Wait, did you say there will be a hold on my license?"

"Yes because you said your license was stolen. There could be fraud. This way you can't do anything with the license because there will be a hold on it. No one will be able to use it. This is for your safety."

"Right but didn't your supervisor just say that the old one is no longer valid due to the official name change? So if this is the only valid license, there's no need for a hold."

She stared at me blankly.

"Because the person on that license that was stolen technically no longer exists in social security. So there's no risk of fraud."

"So you want … a hold on your license? For your safety?"

"No. I do not want a hold. No hold. I want to be able to use this license. Because this one is in my possession. I am going to need to use it."

"But … your safety."

"No hold. Please. No hold."

"Ooookay but what if you lose it? Up to you."

Yeah and what if I win the lottery or get hit by a bus or shit out a puppy there is no end to the what if's in life! Clearly the RMV is where logic goes to die. Wait, again, am I dead? Is this purgatory?

I am now in possession of my new license and I'm still not 100 percent sure if there is or is not in fact a hold on it. Only the RMV gods know right now. And in the end, it gives me some weird peace knowing that Bridget Horne is now no longer officially exists in the eyes of the U.S. government and is not retired in a drawer or cut up in some trash can but in fact lives on in the hands of some goddamn derelict who's probably using it to buy underage booze. It just seems fitting. Rock on, Bridget. Rock on.


I've had better days. But then again, I've certainly had worse. And at the end of it, at least I got to ungracefully shove some sushi down my face AND my boyfriend brought me Bad Day Cookies. So there's that. And then we drove to Philadelphia. We didn't get in an accident, as I was paranoid we would after all the other events of the day. We didn't get a ticket or run out of gas on the highway in the dark. Maybe I had gotten aaaaaall of my bad juju out of the way. And then there was the race.

As per usual, around mile 14 I gave up running marathons forever. Mile 20 I gave up running forever. And mile 26 I thought I was going to shit my pants. I missed my goal. I spent the rest of the day and night washing away my self-loathing with beer. And the next day resolved to find a way into the Boston Marathon even though I've already been rejected from every charity team I've applied to. I'm a childhood cancer survivor who was rejected from not one, but TWO fundraising teams who raise money for childhood cancer. BECAUSE THAT MAKES SENSE. It's okay though. It's gonna happen, you guys, I can feel it. And when it does, I can't wait to think about shitting my pants on the Boston Marathon course.

Boston strong, baby!


Lora said...

Not for nothing, but there is a similarly built blond short haired crack head that lives near my house and every time I see her I think of you but only in the way that I wonder if this crazy lady thinks she looks as good as you do because sometimes addicts don't see themselves in the same way the rest of us do but really she looks like you would look in one of those meth PSAs where the lady starts off gorgeous and healthy (you) and then takes out her teeth and gets wonky hair and scabs and stuff (her) and they tell you not to do drugs.

This is actually a compliment, I'm not sure if I'm making this clear in all this rambling.

I'm sorry about the shitty things that happened but glad you're safe and warm and in love

Lora said...

Not for nothing, but there is a similarly built blond short haired crack head that lives near my house and every time I see her I think of you but only in the way that I wonder if this crazy lady thinks she looks as good as you do because sometimes addicts don't see themselves in the same way the rest of us do but really she looks like you would look in one of those meth PSAs where the lady starts off gorgeous and healthy (you) and then takes out her teeth and gets wonky hair and scabs and stuff (her) and they tell you not to do drugs.

This is actually a compliment, I'm not sure if I'm making this clear in all this rambling.

I'm sorry about the shitty things that happened but glad you're safe and warm and in love

RuthWells said...

I think Boston is trying to tell you to move back to Philadelphia. We miss you!

RuthWells said...

I think Boston is trying to convince you to move back to Philadelphia. We miss you!

bellacantare said...

I don't know how you kept your shit together at the RMV, but I commend you. I probably would have resorted to crying and throwing things. you know, adult stuff.


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