Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Lesson #2: Do not rely on your cell for important phone #s

You ever do or say something and the minute it happens, you realize it’s the wrong move. I’m not talking about times when you’re mid-sentence and realize that whatever you are going to say is either going to fall flat or be completely inappropriate. Since you’ve committed and you have the audience’s attention, you just have to finish it and crawl away. I’m talking about instances where the moment you do something, you realize it’s wrong and the little guy inside you says, “Shhhhhhhhiiiiiiiiiittttttttt.” It’s a drawn out cuss because, well, it just is. There’s nothing you can do but say, “I’m a shmuck.”

That’s what happened to me on Tuesday, July 14th at 9:35am.

The day was going fine. Sure, it’s hot out there and even hotter in my apartment but I was coping. Tuesday was to be the hottest day so far in the city. 94 degrees, they said it would be. I decided that the best way to keep the pooches cool in the apartment was to blast the bedroom air conditioner while we went for a walk. When I returned, I’d blast the fans in the bedroom, kitchen and living rooms at full force. I even directed the second fan in the living room, towards their beds.

I harnessed them in and grabbed their leashes. Instead of leashing them before we went out to the elevators, I let them roam free. It was the least I could do for these poor fur coated pooches in the blazing heat. As they ran out, I ran to catch them. As I pulled the door closed, the feeling began, like a piece of hard candy lodged in near my diaphragm.

SLAM! “Oh, Shhhhiiiiiitttt,” I said to myself. I instinctively touched the pouch on Z-girl’s leash. It was empty. I tried the door. It was definitely locked. Folks, for the first time in my life, I locked myself out of my own house.

The two dogs looked at me excitedly. Dejected and in need of a plan, I walked the dogs as I plotted out what to do. There is a pay phone by the train station. I can call Lrudlrick. Oblivious to our plight, Z and P sniffed every tree, every hydrant and every crack on the sidewalk.

We got to the train station and I grabbed the phone. Pantrygirl, think. How do you make a collect call again? Heck, it’s been nearly 15 years since you’ve made a collect call. In high school, we’d call our parents up collect. Just like the commercial, we’d speak really fast. “Pantrygirl at football field to Pantrypop.” Dad would reject the call and 20 minutes later, he’d be in front of the football field picking me and my friends up.

Like a sign from the Verizon people, a giant sticker next to the phone said, “Collect Calls dials 0+area code+number.” At least that was easy. I pick up the sticky phone and held it just close enough to my ear so I could hear. I dialed 0+212+ and then I froze. Damn you cell phone! I can’t remember my husband’s work phone! At this point, I decided the first thing I do after getting my keys replicated is kick my dependency on my cell phone, pda and laptop. Like a child learns his phone number, I’d sit and write my husband’s phone number and any other key numbers that I may need for emergencies, just like this one, until they are engrained in my head. I still remember my high school locker combination. 14-4-38. But my husband's phone number? Nothing.

5 minutes of staring at the keyboard and trying to figure out the pattern, I finally remembered it. I dialed the number and the operator puts me on hold as she tries to connect me. Did you know that most corporations don’t accept collect calls? Well, now you do. I ask her to try his cell. Did you know that most cell phone services do not accept collect calls? Well, now you do.

By this time, the dogs have grown tired of the payphone and want to move on. I spot the porters taking out the trash and I run to one of them who says I can use the super’s phone. Thank you, Julio! By now the dogs think my running around is a game and have taken to play, “Let’s try to trip Pantrygirl.”

I stand at the front door of the building like a stalker and wait for someone to come in or go out to get in. I get in and knock on the super’s door. The handyman opens it up and I tell him my situation. He looks at me reluctantly. I was about to go on a tirade when the porters come in and smile at me. He reluctantly moves out of the way and lets me use the phone.

What the heck was he going to do? Deny me the use of his phone? The phone that technically I pay for? I grab the phone and immediately call my husband.

“I’m in the corporate meeting. I’ll call you back.” he whispers. By now the dogs are confused and their leashes are tangled between my legs. I dialed 8 numbers within the same sequence as my work number to get my boss’. Note to self: Memorize boss’ number. I leave a hurried message that I’m locked out and have the two dogs with me and probably won’t be in. I’d call her when I get into the apartment.

Lrudlrick calls back and tells me that the corporate meeting is with the German guys that just bought out his company and he can’t leave for another hour or hour and a half. I had to figure out what to do until he could get out and hop a train over.

Tomorrow: How to keep two dogs fairly entertained, hydrated and cool in 94 degree weather while wearing a silk sheath dress and pearls.