“Wait, what? How was my Uber ride only $4?!” I wondered as I looked down at my electronic receipt and hauled my luggage up the airport escalator towards the departure gates. A smile spread across my face. “Everything is going to be okay.”
Over the previous week, my life did not feel okay despite some exciting changes. Riding on the coattails of the “You Don’t Need to Get Your Life Together” blog post, I had found peace with myself, with my life, and decided to move in with a friend in the heart of Old Town Scottsdale. I felt that I was “stepping forward” vs. “running away” – a distinction I find key to personal growth. And for the first time in a few weeks, I felt excited. A change was just what I needed.
In a week’s time, I packed up my belongings, hired movers and transferred most of my stuff to a new home. On Saturday evening, as I finished packing the last of my clothes, I opened a bottle of wine. It had been a long day.
As I reached to grab the collapsible storage boxes that lay lonely at the top of my closet, greeting cards fell to the floor. They were from my roommates, dated back to the first few weeks I had lived there. Reading through the letters and cards, the tears began to pour, as well as the wine. Until the entire bottle was gone.
After touching up my makeup to hide evidence of an emo evening, my friend Rachel and I were off to the The Mint Nightclub for our “Last Roomie Night Out!” After several vodka Red Bulls, dancing my ass off and annoyingly whipping people with an over-sized glow stick, I found myself in a cab with a 22 year old headed back to his place. My first Cougar moment.
“Hey, your roommate Facebook friend requested me, and she’s wondering where you are,” he informed me the next morning, sitting at the edge of the bed on his laptop. Oh F. Where was my phone?
The only contents of my clutch that could be found were my ID, credit cards and a collection of seashells from Rocky Point. Perfect. No phone or keys. The 5-year age gap suddenly seemed nonexistent. At least he had a functioning phone and was kind enough to request an Uber.
Returning home, I munched on untoasted cinnamon Pop Tarts in my mesh crop top while iMessaging my new roommate via my laptop letting her know that I had lost the house keys she made me the previous day. Just then, a message was received from my dad letting me know that my grandma passed away. Okay, I needed a phone to talk to my family. I felt sketch.
Sitting in Verizon with a messy bun and last night’s make-up, I was that gross girl and disgruntled customer: Yes, Mr. Verizon I know I should order an iPhone 6 to be delivered in a couple weeks, but I need a new phone, like, now. No, I don’t want to purchase an effing music speaker or extra charger. Listen, I drove my roommate’s car here, need to access Uber to get groceries and call my parents before I look like a bitch. Oh, by the way, do you know anything about replacing car keys? I have a feeling my valet key might not work out…
And I was right. After a failed attempt at unlocking my car, I realized that it was indeed for my previous Jetta, leaving me car key-less after having my second set stolen recently. The next day, every Volkswagen employee I spoke to insisted that I needed to tow my car to the dealership, pay $265 for the replacement key and present my title and ID in-person so I could receive it in 1-2 days. My friends all agreed that it was worth waiting until the Mint re-opened Wednesday night to see if my keys had been found.
Returning to the old house to retrieve my overnight bag, I organized the rest of the un-moved boxes along the kitchen counter to be picked up later. My teddy bear and I grabbed an Uber to our new place and meticulously made the bed so we could feel at home amid the unpacked boxes. Though the change was wonderful, being unsettled felt weird.
The rest of the week was spent riding my beach cruiser to work and Trader Joe’s and praying that my keys would be found Wednesday night so I could drive myself to the airport Thursday morning to fly to Illinois for my Grandma’s funeral. But no keys were found. I resolved to the fact that I would need to make frank phone calls to tow companies and the dealership, pleading with them to allow me to replace the keys remotely. However, in the Uber on the way to the airport, my anxiety was still too great to make the calls.
$4 Airport Uber Ride
The aforementioned $25 savings on my ride to the airport, probably caused by a technical glitch in the app’s billing engine, may have formerly seemed insignificant. However, it brought me an overwhelming feeling of joy. Things were looking up. My elderly driver, who I had deemed too old to drive, now seemed like my Guardian Angel in a miraculous Unsolved Mysteries type of way. Along with a pre-flight Bloody Mary, it gave me the confidence and calm needed to make those phone calls.
After Googling that it could cost hundreds, the towing dispatcher agreed to tow my car to the dealership for a mere $98 within hours. Amazing. Now Volkswagen. After describing my situation to five employees, I was finally directed to Pete. Everyone should be a Pete. He was the first person who told me that, honestly, all I needed to do was have my car towed, and they could order and make the keys. No need to come in. No need to fax paperwork. They would be ready when I got back. Hallelujah. I could rest easy on my flight to Chicago.
Hang On, Where’s My Suitcase?
As I skipped through the Chicago Airport, stopped by the ladies’ room and then ventured to the gate for my connecting flight to St. Louis, a conclusion to this blog post happily clouded my thoughts: “It’s really just about being positive and then positive things happen! Yes, sometimes it only takes one good thing to snowball into everything working out.” I was smiling at random strangers, wishing they could read it already. “Hang on, I feel like I’m missing something. SHIT!”
I nearly started running backwards on the moving walkway, realizing that I had left my entire suitcase above my seat. I would have no clothes, no shoes, nothing. Sprinting back to the gate, I accidentally plowed into the last lingering passenger and hurriedly ripped my bag from the overhead compartment of the plane.
Charging back towards the gate to make my flight, I wanted to be mad at myself for being so forgetful, but I couldn’t help it: I started laughing. This is just me. Even soberly, I am capable of losing all my belongings. Perhaps I’m destined for premature dementia and maybe I need to wake up and smell the age of 27, but I also have a feeling that I will always be a little aloof as part of being Annie.
In these types of trainwreck posts, I don’t mean to romanticize the idea of being irresponsible, evangelize the acceptance of crazy behavior or throw a pity party for self-inflicted scenarios. And I realize that I haven’t contracted ebola. I haven’t lost my job. And I’m not a victim of a natural disaster. I just am a natural disaster.
For the rest of my life, I will likely cause myself tsunami-sized stress and unforeseen quakes that rock my world. I will always need disaster relief in the form of Pop Tarts and spare keys. And in preparation, I finally purchased a clutch in St. Louis with enough zippers to hold onto life essentials… and then accidentally broke its strap on my flight back to Arizona. (Hello, luggage repair shop.) ‘Tis life, and I share it with you not only as a storm warning, but more importantly, to let you know that you’re not alone.