i'm a creature of habit, none of them good. it's winter, and my insomnia is back for an extended visit (since it had such a fabulous time with me last year). oh, joy.
so. not sleeping until dawn and then not sleeping well meant that i woke up at 2pm today. panic on the streets of arlington, i wonder to myself...i had somewhere to be and far too many things to do...so i made coffee. and called my mother. when she realised what she was keeping me from, she insistently terminated the conversation, "go! get your drug test!"
correct, fair minnows. DRUG TEST.
those of you who read my diary know that i stand on the precipice of employment, i am so close to being a happy girl with a glowing resume, i am so...waiting for finality, assurance, security. small hurdles keep jutting up out of the ground, when i least expect them, just when i think i've spotted a metaphorical finish line. needed: more references, background checks, drug tests...
i've been told that this is standard practice, now. everyone does them. everyone requires them. fine, i grasp all of that...but it's not going to chase away the weirdness that surrounds this entire endeavor. i've never taken one, nor have i ever been asked. "this is all pointless," you argue. "you have nothing to hide."
true, true...exceedingly true. i've never done anything that could get me in such trouble. but i am me. and that means that i will be consumed with something, the fact that i have nothing to worry about be damned. the entire idea...it's just so...strange.
i drink a second pint of water, after my coffee (with just a pinch of nescafe, in the hopes of a diuretic effect) and start to leave. at the door, i remember that i'm not 100% on the address of the lab i need to go to, and so i shuck off boots, shrug off parka, drop messenger bag and go back to my computer. duly edified, i re-shuck, un-shrug and pick up where i left off.
while i wait for the elevator, i glance at the helpful full-length mirror that graces our hallway. am i going to be warm enough? i try to tuck in my red scarf more effectively, but am startled by a door opening. there will be no furtive adjusting done in this elevator, no tweaking of bra straps, no tucking in of errant boyshort-waistband...no, not with this persian guy and his father exchanging passionate words in farsi. i think that's what surprised me the most...i'm used to riding up and down these many floors by myself. i'm not used to having company these days.
once outside, the sun blinds me and i yearn for sunglasses. then i reprimand myself for wanting to prevent necessary sun exposure. i'm not sure where i'm going. this lab is apparently rather close to my apt, in fact, it appears to be on one of the streets i live on...but i'm not at all familiar with the area. i perk up when i see a policeman across the street. i get even happier when he turns his back, and misses me jaywalking like an all-star.
"excuse me, do you know where ______ is?"
"what. what? you have a quest- i don't know. i don't." and then he turns back to the task he was consumed with, photographing...nothing. i think he's affected by the scornful look on my face, which i can't help...there's a REASON why i don't play poker, people.
my feelings must be registering so visibly; i'm surprised, and not in the good way. my head is swimming with memories of heroic nypd and sfpd officers, ever alert and prepared, sweetly guiding me to wherever i needed to be...my scowl grows and then...
"uh...okay, you know what...i think...just...just go there."
i look back at him.
i'm suddenly aware that my ears are aching from the cold. it is just frigid out. i had thought about putting on my fur trimmed hood earlier, but i have this thing about restricting my very excellent peripheral vision...i once resisted an iconic pair of Chanel sunglasses (back when they were something special, i.e. you couldn't get them at sunglass hut...*shudder*) b/c the frames had big quilted sides that were glamorous...but totally opaque. i tried them on, immediately felt weird b/c i couldn't see anything at my sides, and whipped them off my face. peripheral vision. it's important. important enough that i'd freeze my face out of fear that i wouldn't see some car bearing down on my crossing-the-street-illegally-ass.
i go where the officer pointed, and i'm just more lost. i'm also miserably cold. despite the bright sunlight, the temperature feels like the 20s and i have no gloves or hat on. my down parka is gorgeously chic, which means it fits snugly, is well-tailored vs poofy and here's the key part-- it STOPS AT MY HIPS. it's so cold, my bottom hurts, through strong diesel.
to hell with my paranoia. i'll cross the streets legally, at designated crosswalks if it means that i can wear my hood and cover my beleaguered ears. though i'm relieved at this decision, i'm frustrated when i discover that this is not a simple endeavor b/c of several factors:
1) my hair is really long. and in the way.
2) my messenger bag strap is interfering with hood deployment.
3) my fingers aren't very dexterous when they're FROZEN.
so i look like a complete moron on this street corner, fighting with my parka while i'm still in it, wriggling around until i finally get my hood free. in the midst of all my thrashing about, i've changed positions, and suddenly, it's so clear; the address i need, bang in front of me...but of course, across the street.
i cross, go in the building and spend ten agonizing minutes trying to figure out where on earth this blasted lab is. ah. RIGHT. it's the one door that's not clearly marked. of course. the diuretic nescafe is doing its job, and i'm ready to GO.
i walk in, try to explain my purpose, prepare to ask for--
"OKAY? you NEED to sign in."
i hadn't even articulated the "excuse me" before she sliced my words right off.
i meekly signed in, and once again attempted to tell her why i was-
"OKAY? you NEED to fill out dis form. take the clipboard. you can't stand here."
right. of course i can't. if i did stand there, i'd see your co-worker picking at her hair while she screams into her cell phone at a decibel-level that is consummately inappropriate for indoor use. but if i go sit in the waiting area, she goes back to being a disembodied voice shrieking incoherent blather, hidden by the wall she's sitting up against, next to your window.
i fill out everything on the clipboard, and go back. they start to ask me if i have a photo i.d., and as i hand it over, i finally get a word in edgewise- "i'm supposed to give you this form."
"OKAY? we KNOW what you s'posed to give and...wait...aw, hell. you din't EVEN hafta fill out nothin'. damn it. why didn't you tell us- starkeisha, girrrl. look at this. ain't this some BULLSHIT."
(do these things even happen to normal people? or just me? in my head, my mother's amused laugh answers, "just you!")
i'm calm. i'm zen. i'm mindful. i stay aware of my exhale and resist the temptation to screech, "THAT'S what i was TRYING to tell you!" i'm rather proud of myself, of my restraint. i'm being quite the lady.
"um...OKAY? you just need to give your sample. OKAY?"
before i can ask when i'll be doing that, i notice that the woman's entire demeanor has changed...i thought i heard the door open, and someone walk in behind me. just as i turn around to see a 6'3, light-skinned, built, could've-been-an-extra-in-a-tony-braxton-video hottie, i hear the scuffle. "STARKEISHA! you busy! i'll handle him."
"uh-UH, girl...he MINE."
"STARKEISHA! dammit, you take her...i had to help her all this time...if you hadn' been on your phone, maybe-"
"LaShawn! you KNOW i had to make that call...JeVon's school called. damn! i'm just tryin-"
syrupy sweetness fills the air, and i'm amused at the visible difference in the desk clerk's approach to customer service when there's a Y-chromosome around..."Hiiii...i'm LaShawn...how can i...do for you...i mean, WHAT can i do for you...or what can I DO for you..."
he just smiles.
i wonder how long this is going to take, and if starkeisha ever wanted to change her name...