Three appointments, all in New York, amounted to 10 hours on the road. I like days like this, for the most part. I'm alone with my thoughts and the day goes fast. Most of it, anyway. But I'll get to the slow part in a minute.
When you drive as much as I do, and get fed up with the radio (company car has no CD player, alas), you make up games to amuse yourself. Yesterday, I found myself thinking about my 45s. The royal blue and gold pasteboard box was a faithful companion through my childhood, until the purchase of my first cassette. (The Doors Greatest Hits, purchased at a farmer's market, fifth grade, in case anyone is wondering.) As a 'stay alert and in the lane' exercise I tried to remember what was IN my 45 box. I would mention, in my defense, that my music falls into two categories: I Wanted This and I Have No Idea Where This Came From But I Was An Odd Child.
- "Smoke from a Distant Fire" Sanford and Townsend-- This is definitely one I can't explain, though I will tell you that I slavishly learned it, and sang it over and over, along with the record. What I thought it meant, in elementary school, I can't tell you.
- "Baker Street" Gerry Rafferty-- This song still reminds me of driving down to Brigantine in a 1977 Ford LTD II with the windows open.
- "Disco Inferno" The Trammps-- I have no excuse. I wanted this one.
- "You Take My Breath Away" Leif Garrett-- I can still see him with his winged blond hair and shimmery scarf. He isn't looking so great these days. I inherited this record from my sister after she moved on to Pink Floyd, Molly Hatchett, and Black Sabbath.
- "Love Will Keep Us Together" Captain & Tennille-- Also inherited.
- "Love Will Find a Way" Pablo Cruise-- Even now, the song is in my head like an auditory hallucination.
- The Theme from Hill Street Blues-- Because I was fixated on the show.
- "Car Wash"-- Help me out here. Who did the song? Anyway, I thought the movie was funny, what I understood of it. I was probably eight when they started showing it on TV.
- Last, but not least: the very first 45 I ever bought: "Bad Blood" Neil Sedaka. ---Please don't ask why, because I don't know. I have a feeling he was on Sonny & Cher or something and then I wanted it. I bought it at Wilmington Dry Goods on Naaman's Road in Wilmington, Delaware.
I did my 12 o'clock in Vestal and backtracked to Owego for my 2pm. I bopped up the three flights of stairs to his apartment, rang the bell, no answer. Not a problem; he worked two minutes down the road, maybe he is running late. I go back to the van, leave him messages, and work on paperwork. Ten minutes go by. Twenty. Thirty-five. Now I need to leave for appointment number three (back in Vestal) so I write him a polite note, include my cell number and a business card, trek back up three flights of stairs, and tuck it in his front door. At 3:40pm, while I'm doing appointment number three, he leaves a message on my cell.
"Hi, um, yeah. I called a couple of people earlier because I didn't write anything down or anything and I thought I had an appointment but I didn't know when. Is this really necessary? I mean, can't I just tell you on the phone what I have? Call me on 607-xxx-xxxx and let me know. I guess I'll have to reschedule or whatever. Bye."
I call the number he left, and it rings 25 times with no answer or machine. I decide to drive out to the main road, make a much needed potty stop and pick up a cold beverage, and try him again. This time he picks up the phone on the 22nd ring and I explain who I am and that yes, we do need to do an estimate.
"(Sighs loudly.) Can my landlady let you in?"
"Sure, if she's available, but I am twenty minutes away, so I'd be there pretty soon."
"I'll call her and call you back."
He calls back four minutes later and says:
"I guess I'll have to meet you; she isn't picking up."
"Not a problem, I'll be there in twenty minutes."
"So, like, do you know where it is? And what building I'm in?"
(Yes, I know what building you are in, since I sat in your parking lot for almost half an hour earlier in the day when were SUPPOSED to have this appointment. )
I go back to his apartment, hike the three flights of steps, and enter through the front door that he has thoughtfully left open for me. He doesn't get up. I'm fairly confident in saying that I'm the only female that has ever been in this apartment. Its furnished with approximately 25 milk crates, four plastic shelving units of computers, clothes in black garbage bags, and a single bed on the floor.He completely ignores me and stares at his bank of computers as I open all of his closets and cabinets and learn that he derives most of his nutritional needs from ramen noodles and fried things he can later store in castoff tupperware. I tell him that I have some paperwork for him and without breaking his gaze from the screen he waves vaguely to his in-box and says "You can leave it there."
Oh, hell no. I suppress the urge to smack him in the head with the sheaf of papers in my hand and decide its time for Invasion of The Dance Space. I get right in his grill and sweetly say, "I just need you to sign these." His proximity alarm goes off and he lets go of the mouse and takes my offered pen. No apology for blowing off the earlier appointment, no niceties at all. I cheerily bid him adieu and get the heck out of dodge. I will be getting home and hour and a half after normal quitting time. And the greater Denver area is gaining an aerospace engineer with no social skills. Lucky them.
On an unrelated note, on the way home, I pass an 'Adult Outlet' with a sign out front that says, "Hop on in for your Easter adult gifts". Because, you know, nothing celebrates the resurrection of our Lord and Savior quite as well as porn and sex toys. What a wonderful world.