August 4, 2004

A Day In The Life

Today, or yesterday I guess I should say, was the kind of day that tried to wipe out the remaining traces of I've-been-on-vacation euphoria. Welcome back to the real world. Bound to happen sooner or later I suppose.

My drive into the District was pleasant enough. The traffic was surprisingly light. Tourists and their sightseeing buses didn't block every intersection. There was no snaking line of humanity awaiting entry to the Holocaust Museum nor the Treasury Building. While there was one large group clad in matching red t-shirts hovering near the crosswalk by the Washington Monument, they didn't impede my right-turn-on-red by stepping out into the road as such groups usually do. I timed things so I would arrive at my job site at 10:00, but traffic was so smooth I arrived at 9:30 instead. Vacation groove still grooving or folks staying away because of the heightened terror alert? Either way, I'll take it.

Work went smoothly. I was out of there only 30 minutes later than I intended, which I suppose really translates into an hour longer than I intended to be there because I had arrived early. Oh well. I was still pretty much on schedule.

Here's where the day started to lose it's shine. I had to wait 30 minutes to get my car out of the parking garage. And it was hot. And humid. Like only DC in August can be humid. And I had to stand in the sun. In a noisy alley. And I was sweating. In my city clothes. Blech. I guess the typically efficient parking folks were taking a vacation of their own.

Finally got my car. But then a handicapped transit van blocked the alley exit while a man in a wheelchair was loaded on and strapped in. How could I possibly be irritated by a handicapped individual screwing up my time schedule? At least I was in the car with the A/C on full blast.

I took the opportunity to look up. Usually when I walk or drive in the city, my attention is focused on where I am going. Eye levelish. Or downward so I don't trip on a curb or something. Looking up in the city exposes a whole new set of sights. There are some beautiful buildings in DC, with filigreed construction and interesting decorative exteriors. So the day still had some of it's shine.

Until I realized I'd left the paperwork for my next job at home. On the dining room table. Where I distinctly remembered putting it next to my purse. My purse made it into the car. The paperwork didn't. I've given up carrying my briefcase because I'd stuff so much crap in it I'd get a shoulder ache from carrying it around all day. But had I still been using it, the paperwork would not be sitting on the dining room table when it needed to be with me.

Envision a triangle. An equilateral triangle. It represents the travel route I was to take that day. Point A to Point B to Point C to Point A. Simple and expedient. Avoiding suburban roads and using highways at off-peak hours to optimize my time. But now, because of my carelessness, my route would have to be Point A to Point B to Point A to Point C to Point A. Have I lost you yet? The shine was fading again despite my desire to retain it. Gas costs $1.99 a gallon around here right now at the cheap stations after all. And time is money too.

So I finally got to Point C after an additional trip to Point A. I was an hour later than I told them I'd be. Grrrrr. And things were rather fubared there. They are in the middle of a major computer upgrade and the office was packed with things that don't belong. This particular client is a restaurant. And if you've never seen a restaurant's office, I'll tell you they are typically squeezed into an out of the way space. And they're small. And cramped. Particularly today because of all the extra equipment. But hey, I'm adaptable. I don't mind climbing over, squeezing by, stretching around, mousing with my left hand... well you get the picture.

But lordie was it hot in that office! I'm mean sweating-while-you-are-sitting-still hot. Typically when the door is closed it cools off. Not today. The A/C, just in the office mind you, was malfunctioning. And I was still in my city clothes. Not good. Not good at all. I should have taken time to change clothes during my additional stop at Point A. But my work there went fairly smoothly too. Despite the temperature.

I made it back to Point A. I've got a cat in my lap and a dog at my feet. In my pajamas. Me, not the dog. My girlfriend is warming up our bed. And the Orioles won a double-header today... err... yesterday. What the hell am I whining for?

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