Friday, February 10, 2006

And The Clowns Shall Crown Me Their King…

Have you ever done something really stupid and then spent the next week worrying that somebody noticed? That they’ll spread around the story to everybody? Not me. I do stupid things then spread the story around, making sure that everybody understands the full extent of my stupidity. It’s my way of cutting out the middleman.

So one day last week I sat at work watching the snow fall out the window. When I left for the day the snow was still falling. The wind had picked up and the temperature had fallen. As I approached my car a coworker and I started talking about the weather as he scraped his windshield. I unlocked my car, opened the door and started my car. I stepped back out to scrape off the snow and closed the driver’s side door.

My conversation with my coworker continued as I went to open the back door to get my scraper. It resisted.

“Hey! My stupid back door is frozen shut!”

I put some muscle into it, but the door laughed contemptuously. I gave up and opened the driver’s door.

Or, I should say, I tried. It was frozen shut too.

“This stupid door’s frozen shut too! And it was just open!"

Slowly, it dawned on me. I had just locked my keys in my car. And it was running.

“Hey – I just locked my keys in the car!”

“No!” my coworker said, shocked.

I trudged back inside to figure out what to do. Another coworker was there, and after fruitless calls to the police and fire departments, I decided to call AAA. With them on their way, I decided to keep trying to get it open myself. My coworker decided to stay and chronicle the nonsense for future storytelling.

We got a couple of coathangers and headed back out to my car. I recounted the story again as we walked to my car, but then stopped abruptly. Something was wrong.

“My car’s gone! It was parked right there!”

For just a few seconds I wondered if somebody had stolen my car, but then I thought that the chances of a car thief wandering by and finding my locked, running car, and getting it open were pretty low. Then I wondered if AAA had come already and towed the car accidentally. That made more sense, but still didn’t seem very likely.

We finally got to where my car had been and I saw it. It wasn’t where I had left it. It appeared as though the first coworker had realized that it was in neutral and the parking brake was off and pushed it back. He had pushed it back not just into the parking spot behind it, but into the aisle behind it. I have a couple of coworkers I could see doing this, but this one just wasn’t the type. Then I noticed that there were no footprints.

What had happened? We thought about it and figured it out. The parking brake was off (no good reason) and it was in neutral (it’s a standard). Apparently, there was a tiny incline to the parking lot. Just enough so the car rolled back very slowly.

We stood there laughing and talking about it for about 20 minutes. It was getting pretty cold and we both had commented on it a couple of times. My coworker suddenly looked up. He had thought of something. He told me that we should get into his jeep, which was parked, running, right next to us, with the heat running. We’d stood there for 20 minutes in the cold, snow falling on us, complaining of the cold while a running vehicle (an unlocked one) sat right next to us.

AAA finally arrived, and the guy who unlocked my car amazed me with his skill. It took him less than a minute to get my car open.

As you could well imagine, my little adventure has been told and retold many times this week. A schedule has been drawn up so people know which day they are responsible for escorting me to my car to make sure I don’t lock the keys up again. People I don’t know have come up and asked me if I was the guy who locked his key in his car. I’ve enjoyed it all – it’s a good feeling to have something good to laugh at and people to laugh at it with.

I’m sure I’m in the running for Clown King this year. Make sure you vote for me.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Ex Has Found A Job

Yes, that’s right. And it’s made my last few interactions with her much more pleasant. This is good news for a number of reasons. One is that her relief puts her in a good mood and she doesn’t seem so inclined to persecute me. It’s not just that it makes my life easier – I’m happy for her because I remember what it was like to be unemployed. It’s highly stressful and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

I told her that she should look closely at the Health Insurance plan her new employer offered and compare it to the one I’ve put our son on. I told her to choose whichever one was better for her. I’m hoping that she honestly chooses the one that is best for our son.

Speaking of him, he’s doing very well. He had a cold the last time I saw him, but this last weekend he was feeling much better. He still had a little cold, but nothing serious. While it was not serious, it was the cause of a little bit of excitement at the mall. We had finished lunch about a half hour before, and spent some time at the Reactrix (if you haven’t seen one of these at a mall, go check out the website. They are definitely cool). My son’s favorite game on it is the little race cars (of course) that race around a track. He runs with them saying “They’re chasing me!” or simply “Race cars!”. So, once we finished playing at the Reactrix we started walking again. He started coughing, and he said “Daddy, I feel sick”. I had just enough time to get him out of the stroller before he stopped feeling sick and actually got sick. He now has a new outfit and I have a new shirt. I must say that I was simply amazed at how many people (or should I say ‘women’?) stopped to ask me if I needed help.

It took a little while to help clean up (I didn’t feel right leaving the poor women who work as cleaning people to clean it all up) but once that was done we went on our merry way.

Work has been very busy, but I’m really enjoying it. I’m learning fast and I’m starting to feel like I’m contributing at a decent level. I’m actually providing answers to some of my coworkers now, which makes me feel great. It’s a very established team, and they have no problem going to get information from somebody, whether they’re a new guy or not. I think that’s a great attitude to have.

Tomorrow night I’ll have to write up why clowns everywhere are debating whether or not I should be named their king. Stay tuned.