Saturday, January 2, 2010

It's been a long, long, long, long day

The following is a brief synopsis of an hour and a half of my life.  Yes, more stuff happened, both before and after.  But this part is fairly representative.  

2:10 pm Went to Walmart to return a Christmas present.  Normally I don't shop at Walmart for ethical reasons (I know, I know, I'm just another liberal shmuck), but Target was only willing to give me $12 for the second season of 30 Rock my sister gave me before she knew I already had it.  Walmart, on the other hand, shelled out $31.  For the first time ever, the point goes to Walmart.

Random bit of knowledge about me: I get emotional at the drop of a hat.  No, I don't cry in sappy movies; that, at least, would be understandable.  Nope, I get teary when I see certain kinds of people.  Morbidly obese people, old people in motorized wheelchairs, people with missing teeth, etc.  It doesn't happen all the time, but when it does -- whoa.  I can barely keep myself from bawling when I think of how lucky I am.

Also, I cry during Liberty Mutual commercials, and anything that ends with "A message from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints."  It's a burden, it really is.

The problem with being such a lamester is that when you go to a place like Walmart, you're surrounded by the truly tragic.  I felt the emotional roller-coaster starting, and I was like the fortieth person in the customer service line.

Lucky for me, right as I felt the meltdown coming on, I saw the most fantastically whiskey-tango couple EVER wearing his-and-hers BYU sweatshirts.  Sweet, sweet poetic justice.  I really wanted to take a picture, but not even a BYU hater like me wanted the Y represented like that.  Immediately after this visual treat, I saw this sign above the customer service center:


Suddenly my crying jag turned into a giggle fit.

Man, is the guy who ends up with me a lucky fella, or what?

2:40 pm I'm walking to my car and I hear someone say, "Excuse me, miss?"

I turn around and see an elderly black woman walking toward me.  "Miss, would you mind driving me to the bank?  It closes at three, and I don't think I'm going to make it."

First shameful confession: Even though I am twenty-five years old, I retain an irrational fear of strangers.  Thanks, elementary school teachers.

Second shameful confession: I am really scared that (a) I am secretly racist without knowing it and (b) minorities will know this about me.  Whenever a minority asks me to do something, I feel compelled to agree.  I don't know why.  I know that I'm not actually racist.  I am just super scared of SEEMING racist.

So here I was with a dilemma.  Granted, this woman looked about as dangerous as a stuffed rabbit with floppy plaid bowtie.  But I couldn't stop imagining her pulling a gun from her oversized old lady purse and carjacking me.  And then I promptly thought, You racist bitch.  But then I thought, Hey, I would have had the same thought even if she were white!  I'm totally also scared of white people!  Stranger danger!  And then, You know that is completely irrational, right?

Immediately after this pleasant vision/internal debate came the thought, Jesus would give her a ride.

Oh, damn it.

"Of course," I say, even though I'm kind of in a hurry.  "Which bank?"

"Oh, it's just down the street.  I just don't think I'll be able to walk all the way.  I just had triple-bypass surgery, and I'm not supposed to run."

I immediately regret envisioning her as a geriatric gangsta.  "Oh, I'm so sorry.  I'll get you there in time, no worries."

So Berna and I drove off for her bank, which I then found out was really a check-into-cash store. (Oh balls.  Shopping at Walmart and facilitating 37% interest rates all in one day.  Well done, self, well done.)   If any of you are from the Davis County area, you know what a total disaster Main Street in Layton can be.  NO ONE CAN EVER TURN.  You might as well commit to just driving in a straight line from the freeway to Crown Burger.  And making a left-hand turn from the Walmart parking lot?  Forget about it.

With the clock ticking down, I pull out into traffic in a move that likely would have failed me on the driving test.  (I would know, I did actually fail the first time.)  Thankfully, I managed to get into the turn line at the traffic light, so I knew I would at least have the protection of the green arrow as I tried to deliver Berna at Mr. Money.  

Berna told me that Mr. Money was located in the same strip mall as Savers, which was somewhat unhelpful since I didn't know where Savers was, either.  But eventually we found it, and ...

... Mr. Money was actually one parking lot over.

Berna told me she could walk over to Mr. Money, and I think anyone else could have accomplished the task.  But after watching Berna totter over the five yards of snow between parking lots and I realized not only was she not up to the task, but she seriously might not make it to Mr. Money in time if she were forced to walk 50 yards.  I mean, seriously -- she was moving that slowly.  So I drove back and told Berna to hop back in.

2:53 pm Back on Layton Main Street, and this time is even scarier than the first.  I pull some more questionable driving maneuvers, and people promptly honk at me.

One part of wants to flip them off.  Don't they know I'm engaged in a good deed?  Don't they know that entitles me to flout traffic laws with impunity?  WITH IMPUNITY?

The second part of me is trying to decide if Berna could sue me if we got in a wreck.  Negligent driving on my part was pretty clear, but wasn't it possible that she assumed the risk of such by hopping in a car with a strange girl from the Walmart parking lot?  Even still, if three years of law school have taught me nothing, it is that I NEVER want to be sued.  I don't care if the law and the facts are completely, utterly and irrevocably on my side.  If I were ever sued, my friends and family would find me days later in some alley, huddled in the fetal position and sucking my thumb.  I repeat: You do not ever want to be sued.

Finally we're in the right parking lot, and just as we're pulling up to Mr. Money ...

... I see the OPEN sign flash off.

I groan and timidly point out that it appears Mr. Money is closing a little early, would she like me to drive her back to Walmart?

Berna decides that she's going to try to convince the man to let her "do her business" anyway, and I suppress my sigh of relief.  I drop Berna off, wave cheerfully, and drive to D.I. where I plan to drop off a few boxes of clothes I am not going to be taking to Phoenix.

3:15 pm In the middle of the donation line at Deseret Industries, I reach over to grab my purse and find ...


... Berna's bus pass and house keys sitting on my passenger seat.  


Since I'm in the middle of the line, I can't back up.  I can't drive forward.  I can't get out of the line.  And the longer I stay in the line, the less likely it is that I am going to find Berna.

Balls balls balls balls balls.

3:22 pm  I finally am at the front of the line.  I jump out of my car without waiting for the D.I. employees to come help me, throw my stuff on the distribution carts, and peel out of the D.I. parking lot.

On to Main Street in Layton for the THIRD TIME.  I am somewhat panicking, but I think that (1) it can't be too hard to find an elderly black woman who moves at the rate of turtle with a sprained ankle in the middle of Davis County, Utah and (b) if nothing else, Berna's bus pass has her ADA information on it, and I could probably contact some sort of caseworker to track her down.

(On a Saturday.)

(Shut up, internal naysayer!)

3:30 pm I find Berna!!  And I am so excited that it didn't take too long.  I think the look on my face must have been somewhat deranged with joy, because when I pull up next to Berna, she gets this, "Oh damn, this white girl is going to kill me" look on her face.  "Hey Berna, you forgot your bus pass and house keys!" I blurt out at the pitch and speed I was so often criticized for using during law school.  (Too fast, Ms. Frost.  Slow it down.)

It takes her a second to recognize the stuff I'm waving at her, and when she does, she breaks into a huge smile.  "Did I leave my debit card in here too?" she asks eagerly.  "Do you mind if I search your car?"

My smile freezes.  Uh, kinda.  "No, go right ahead!" I reply brightly.

So I idle on the side of the road while Berna checks my car for her debit card.   No such luck, but at least she has her bus pass.

* It was actually a much, much, much worse swear.  And it wasn't in my head.  It was out loud.  Several times.  Fortunately for me, I generally don't feel bad about swearing.  But this is a child-friendly blog.


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