I am such an idiot.
I’m also a creature of habit. Every day after work, I clip my ID badge to my backpack for the next morning. Every morning, as I approach the parking lot at work, I reach for the badge, always in the same place.
This morning, my routine got serendipitously messed up. I was already late leaving the house because I sidetracked by brainwave on a submission I’m trying to make by tomorrow. Of course, this morning was the first morning since last October that Swee’pea has been anything but enthusiastic to get into school. I cajoled him in.
The mother of one of Swee’pea’s daycare-mates was on the phone when we arrived, looking a little flustered.
“I locked my keys in the car.”
After I left Swee’pea at the window watching the big tractor that he’d wanted to watch from the car, she asked if I was driving and if I might give her a ride. Of course. I’m always happy to give someone a ride. It’s a small way to pay forward the millions of rides I’ve scored over the last several years. Plus, it would be a great opportunity to hear more about the earth-shaking news she shared last week, the kind of news that, over the heads of little ones, starts with D – I – V.
Obviously not the kind of conversation you can have in a five-minute drive, so we sat in front of her office building for a good 15 minutes I think. I was already late, but it doesn’t really matter (I just stay later) and I wasn’t about to screw up this opportunity to forge a new friendship.
Eventually, I made my way to the parking lot, and reached for my ID badge. It wasn’t there. WTF?!? How could it not be there?!? I must have left it on my pants last night, the pants that were still in a pile on my bedroom floor.
I had to back up from the security arm, and a car came up behind me. He assumed that the security thingie was broken again, as it has been many times before. I rolled my window down as he got out of his car. “I just forgot my badge.”
“OK, I’ll just try it myself.”
“No, I just forgot my badge. It’s fine. I just forgot my badge.”
But he kept walking without his car. Now there was a line of cars coming from both directions. One of my officemates was there. She gestured at me, what’s going on? I mouthed to her, “I just forgot my badge.” (SHE got it, at least.)
Eventually, I got away from all the cars and confusion I’d caused and went to the visitors’ lot, the visitors’ lot that last year generated like $500 worth of parking tickets (apparently the $15 tickets become $56 tickets if you don’t pay them within a month or two). I thought about going home to get my badge but I was already so late, so I didn’t.
Walking into the building, I thought about how difficult my day was going to be. I’d have to wait for someone to let me up the elevator, wait for someone to let me into our office, make sure someone comes with me for every break and meeting… ugh. Just then, my hand brushed something by my pocket.
My badge. Wha??!?
My mind sifts back through the morning, to when I was first letting my new friend into the car, when I put my backpack into the backseat to make room and put my badge on my pants so I wouldn’t have to reach back and fumble for it.
Oh yeah, I’m a thinker, alright.
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