This has nothing to do with Grace and everything to do with my stupidity and poor planning. I swear that I have excellent executive function, but everyone who knows me well will tell you that I have a weird knack for getting myself into trouble of all sorts. It usually involves my clothing falling off in public unbeknownst to me like that one time I walked around the Target produce section with my shirt unbuttoned and my boob exposed for about five minutes before Eadaoin loudly exclaimed, “OHIMIGOD! MOM! Your…boob!” Well, that explained the lascivious stares coming from the man fondling the pears.
So, yesterday I had to drive into the hipster section of the city to pick up one of my besties. She’s in town from Oregon. It was very last minute. My cell phone had died. I dragged Milly with me, and we drove into Hip Park to pick her up for some quality hang-out time back at my house. Her husband rents a studio apartment in our city because he’s here on business so often so she joined him this time around. I thought it would be easy enough to find her once I pulled up to their apartment building. I was so wrong.
I “put” our van in front of this massive, brick building surrounded by identical looking brick apartment buildings. The snow was piled high in drifts. It was nearly impossible to parallel park so the van was almost double parked. I left the car idling with Milly in the front seat and raced up to the building. I looked through the names on the intercom system. Their surname wasn’t listed amongst the residents. How was I going to contact her? I left my dead cell phone at home. I forgot exactly what apartment they were in, but I knew they were on the second floor. Dammit, why didn’t I charge my phone? I opted for the obvious solution. Yelling.
I stood outside the building and yelled out her name for five minutes. “LANA!!! LANA!!!! LANA!!” I sounded like Archer.
It didn’t work. The hipsters were staring. Lana didn’t come out. My daughter stared at me from the car. I started to feel very anxious. I opted for the Desperate Housewife approach. Maybe if I stood outside the apartment window long enough and pouted someone would take pity on me. Someone did.
A thin hipster wearing sunglasses eventually emerged. He was about to light a cigarette. I stopped him. “Hi. Do you know _______ (Lana’s husband’s name)?” He stared at me with no affect. His expression was stony, and I couldn’t see his eyes what with that whole “I wear my sunglasses inside” thing he had going on. “No,” he finally uttered. “Oh. Well, I need to pick up his wife.” That didn’t sound right. “I mean, I’m here to pick up his wife because we’re friends.” That still didn’t sound right. Sighing loudly. “No, I mean to say that my friend is somewhere on the second floor of that apartment building, and I’m meeting her here so that we can go back to my house and hang out today.” He stared at me silently. Why did everything I say sound like I was arranging some kind of drug deal or weird sexual hook-up? “Look,” I said, “she’s in town today, and I haven’t seen her for a long time. We’re friends. She was supposed to meet me out front. She’s not out here. My cell phone died. I don’t know how to contact her. Do you know how I can contact her?”
That seemed to do the trick. “What kind of charger do you need?” I stared at him. “What do you mean?” He stared back. “You could charge your phone.” I didn’t know what he meant. “My phone died so I left it at home. This is all very last minute.” He cocked his eyebrow. I pinched the bridge of my nose. I wanted to show him my teeth as evidence that I wasn’t a meth addict. I didn’t know what else to do. “Look, I’ve already marched around in front of your building yelling out her name for five minutes. That didn’t do any good.” I wasn’t helping myself. I think he thought I was crazy. “What apartment is she in?” Oh, he might help me! I got excited and then quickly realized that I couldn’t remember. “Oh, she’s in 20..uh….202? I think? Yeah. Wait, oh damn, it’s in my email. I’m so sorry.” He just stood there and looked at me. I felt very guilty and stupid but desperate at the same time. He finally held the door open and muttered, “Follow me.” I jumped up and practically screamed, “Oh thank you, thank you, thank you!” He didn’t say anything.
We walked up to apartment 202. He put his ear to the door and said, “There’s no one in here.” I leaned in and quietly asked, “How do you know?” He quickly replied, “The walls are paper thin.” I meekly asked, “Could you knock anyway? Just to be sure? Maybe she’s reading.” He looked at me for a moment through his sunglasses. I couldn’t read him. I felt very uncomfortable. He knocked. Nothing. “See? No one.” He stood up and stared at me. Again. Rooted to the ground. Arms crossed. I didn’t know what to do. “All the information is in my Gmail. I don’t know what to do,” I whined. He started walking away from me and sharply instructed me to follow him. He took me to an apartment and began unlocking his door. I suddenly felt very anxious. “Come in,” he said. He went to a computer on the floor. I looked around and noticed a Bruce Lee poster on the wall. Suddenly, I realized that I was in his apartment. I was standing in a strange dude’s apartment! I felt like I was in college! I immediately thought, “I hope he doesn’t kill me. I bet this is how I’m going to die.” Then I looked in front of me and saw a weird representation of The Last Supper. I felt even more strangely and thought to myself, “He could be one of those religious serial killers. A zealot of some kind. No one would ever know what became of me.” His voice got my attention when he said, “You have Gmail, right?” He handed me a cordless laptop. “Login and check your email.” I looked at him. Still no expression. “Thank you again.” Nothing from him. “Be sure to logout though or I’ll know your password.” I stopped and looked at him again. I saw his lips quirk. “Uh…yeah.” I found the email as quickly as I could with the right apartment. “Here it is! 203! I was one number off!” He just continued to stare at me. “Did you logout?” I nodded. We left his apartment. He stopped and stared at me. “Do you need me to walk you to your friend’s apartment?” I stopped for a moment and realized how colossally stupid the entire situation was. Going into a strange hipster’s apartment? What the hell…?
“No. I can make it from here. Thank you so much for helping me.” He said nothing. He just sort of grunted at me and sauntered down the hallway. As soon as he was gone I ran to Lana’s apartment and beat on her door. She opened the door and I threw my arms around her. “Lana, come, come, come. I couldn’t contact you! My phone! It died! And there was a man! A hipster! And I was in his apartment. And there was Bruce Lee and The Last Supper…and… and…I have to get to my car because…oh GOD!!! Milly!!!!!”
I ran as fast as I could to the van. It was idling peacefully right out front. Milling was crying. All in all, I was probably gone for five minutes, but she was scared.
What is the moral of this story? Never let your cell phone die or you might find yourself in a strange hipster’s apartment and make your daughter cry.