Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Stuck Record

An atypical Tuesday, too? Oh, yes, believe it.

I made it home last night without too much difficulty, although it was slightly nerve-wracking simply because the whole process was generally unfamiliar to me. When I drive I almost always go in and out of the DC area using 66 as a straight shot, so not having that option due to HOV restrictions meant I had to get creative. And I may have been a bit overconfident at my ability to wing it, and by just kind of following roads I sorta recognized the names of in the general direction I thought I should be heading, I probably didn’t make headway as straightforwardly as I could have. But in the end, door-to-door, it took just about exactly as much time to get home as the combination of mass transit and driving commute usually takes.

Also working in my favor on the way home was much more favorable conditions, both external and internal. I didn’t bring this up yesterday, but the most trying part of the morning commute was the stretch getting from Megabus to M Street, not only because I was winging it but because my car was running on fumes and I was overdue to relieve myself of my morning coffee, ahem ahem. Fortunately when I re-oriented myself on M I quickly found a large gas station with not abominable restrooms, so I solved those problems and made the rest of the trip without incident. This also meant that I had plenty of gas on the way home, and I made a conscious effort to visit the restrooms at work before hitting the road, and the morning fog obviously was no longer a factor in the evening, so all in all it was an improvement.

But by not following my usual commute habits, I set off other cascading effects. Usually when I settle down in my seat on the bus or Metro, I unclip my building security badge and put it inside my work bag so I can’t forget it the next day. But yesterday evening I left the office and by the time I was sitting down again I was operating a motor vehicle, and didn’t realize I still had my badge clipped on until after I had gotten home, dropped my work bag, and taken off and hung up my coat. So the badge ended up on the kitchen counter, right next to my cell phone, which I was sure would remind me to grab the badge as well in the morning.

Needless to say the badge is still sitting on the kitchen counter as I type this, because I am a dingus. Hence today’s completely different flavor of atypicality. I had to stop at the security desk for the building this morning and get a visitor badge, which also means I’m not allowed to wander the building on my own. So I’ve been shackled at my desk all day without so much as a mosey down to the fifth floor vending machines, because the hassle of getting someone to escort me anywhere isn’t really worth it. This is what I reap from being ultra-orthodox in my dedication to keeping my head down and not socializing much at the office.

If I'm going to whine, I'm going to whine EXTREMELY MELODRAMATICALLY.
And can I just add that I’m sure being a security guard at a government office building is a challenging enough job, and my problems caused by my own negligence do not automatically become their problems, but would it kill them to be a little bit sympathetically helpful? Even to get to the elevators with my visitor badge, I needed to call someone for an escort from the lobby. I started scrolling through my cell phone contacts looking for my boss and was surprised to find I’d never saved his number. Another of my co-workers, whose number I did have, is already on vacation, so I was at a bit of a loss. I asked one of the security guards if they had any kind of directory, explaining my phone predicament. The security guard sighed and said “All we have is that directory over there between the two columns” and pointed across the lobby. I figured it was worth a shot to look and see if maybe my office had a main number and maybe I could prevail upon the administrative assistant who manned that phone or whatever. I would not have figured it was worth a shot if the security guard had said something like “The building directory doesn’t have any phone numbers on it” which was, in fact, the case. I mean, seriously? If I tell you I can’t find a phone number and ask if you have a directory, why in the world would you even bother mentioning (and implying even the longshot helpfulness of) a floor directory which only lists which agencies are in which suites? How hard is it to realize that the most helpful answer would actually be “No, sorry”?

I’m mostly mad at myself, I guess. One more day to go and I can’t wait to see what kind of curveball that’s going to entail. Probably thunderstorms and a fire drill and I’ll forget my umbrella.

No comments:

Post a Comment