I wake up ready to meet the challenge of my day.
My to do list:
1. Entrance exam at 10:30 AM.
2. Buy a new suit.
3. Prepare dinner.
4. Poetry Reading at LaMaMa’s.
I sew another hole closed in my son’s jeans, pack lunches and wave good-bye to the family.
Everything was going smoothly:
I leisurely eat a hearty breakfast of oatmeal, yogurt and peppermint tea. I take a hot bath to relax. I start thinking about the test. I am poor at relaxing on this morning. I am thinking about the four sections of the test. They include grammar, news analysis, 20 items to identify (people or events) and a news writing drill. I start second guessing myself. I’ve spent time scanning news sites online and newspapers stacked in my office, creating index cards with current events of people and places. Getting out of the bath, I decide to look up the Eliot Spitzer’s Health-care plan.
As the clock moves towards 9 AM, I begin to gather my bag, wallet, and keys. I can’t find my keys. I realize I haven’t put them on the hook where I usually keep them. I also realize I haven’t left the house
since, Friday night. They are found in the pocket of the coat I had on.
I stop in the living room for tissues. I shove them in my bag, close the door and head down the steps. At the front door, I am reaching in my pocket for my keys. I don’t have my keys. Maybe I put them down when I got those tissues. I didn’t want to have to use my gloves (again) to wipe my nose. I don’t have allergies but somehow it always begins to leak, as I stand on the windy platform waiting for the J train. I run back up two flights of steps. The door is locked. I search for the keys again. I empty the bag. I try the door again. I am locked out. I am screwed.
I go downstairs hoping one of the neighbors/tenants is home. If someone could just lock the front door behind me, I’d feel okay with leaving. No one is home.
And Then Not So Smoothly:
Going back upstairs, I sit on the steps. I call my husband. I leave a message. He calls back twenty-minutes later. He is very understanding and full of solutions. I am upset and full of defeat.
Leave the house from the basement, he says.
Go across the street to the ATM and take a cab to the school, he says.
Call the admissions director and explain what happened, he says. “People make mistakes.”
I am crazed.
I don’t have her phone number. It’s on my laptop.
It is late. It is now 9:45 am. I was supposed to be there at 10 o’clock. The test starts at 10:30 am.
He tells me he is coming home. I am glad I had breakfast because I broke my routine and didn’t pack any lunch or snacks for myself. Traveling light. Had I packed my bag first, (like I usually do) this wouldn’t have happened. Perhaps I can take the test tomorrow night when my interview is scheduled.
I write while I wait. I listen to my iPod. I journal in my black and white notebook about how angry I am with myself. I begin to question my abilities. Perhaps my organization skills are not up to the challenges of graduate school. I remember my email with the admissions director. Didn’t she say that because the Saturday appointment was changed, that she could arrange a time that worked for me? I am feeling a bit of hope. But not for long.
I have to use the bathroom. I pace up and down trying to distract my-
self with my “Song Sister’s” play lists, which includes Mary J. Blige, Cree Summer, Joan Jett and CeCe Peniston. By the time Cece is midway into “Keep on Walk’in,” I’m walking up and down a lot faster than she is singing.
My husband calls. I tell him my dilemma. He is sorry. He is full, of suggestions. I could go down to the basement and get some kind of container. I already tried that. The portion of the basement that has anything of use is locked. He is sorry. He tells me he is in on Houston St. and is heading for the Williamsburg Bridge. I can’t talk anymore.
I head up to the roof. It is my last resort. There’s lots of snow up there. I look around. I wonder if the public school a block away can see me on my roof. I am wearing a bright orange sweater. I squat leaning over the ledge that connects my roof to the building next to me.
At that moment I am no better than the dogs that leave yellow stains in the snow. What an irritation. I am annoyed with myself, but relieved.
By the time my husband arrives, in his apron full of clay from the art class he is teaching, I have done a full inspection of the third floor hallway. We need to fill a crack with some of that foam that keeps out the mice and bugs. He gives me a juicy kiss. I have been rescued.
The Development of Events in The Opposite Way:
There is another ironic twist to the end of this story.
As I pour over our original emails, I notice that the Saturday exam was originally for 10:30, but that the Monday session was for 11 AM and not at 10 AM as I had thought.
I email the admissions director pour over my dilemma. She is sympathetic.
I can take the test on Wednesday evening right after my interview.
I have a cup of tea and head out to buy my suit.