Most of my life is spent being late for something or overreacting to something I feel is “happening” to me. It’s a state of mind that can best be described as always in an intense, important, all encompassing rush. Out of all of my faults, most of which I’ve accepted and decided not to try to change at this point (I mean what IS the point? I’m almost 30. Old dog, new tricks. Blah, blah,) these are two I would really like to change. I think I would be a happier, more care-free person. I’m all for that. I mean, I don’t need to be like, hippie/surfer care-free. I’m too smart and self-aware for that. But, more “chill?” Yes, please. Today was one of those days where both of these faults clashed in a perfect storm of tiny, well-timed events that will definitely not sound like that big of a deal, but if you were a fly on the wall in my parking garage this morning, you would’ve seen the very definition of “flying off the handle.”
Almost every morning I take a Pilates class that I must sign up for online prior to class to confirm my attendance. If I don’t show up, they charge a $15 penalty charge to my credit card. The classes are also intense and only 40 minutes long, so if I’m 2 minutes late, I’ve missed the whole warm-up. This morning I signed up for the noon class. I had decided to try to be really productive and start a load of laundry before I left for class. It takes me exactly 6 minutes to get to Pilates and exactly 4 minutes to walk down to the laundry room in the parking garage, put the quarters, the soap, and the clothes in the machine and start the load. So, naturally I rushed out of my apartment at 11:51am with my load in my arms, my purse on my shoulder, my quarters in my left hand, and my keys in my mouth. I awkwardly locked my apartment door and dashed off. (If you’re doing the math in your head right now, you’re right. I was already a minute behind schedule, naturally.) I hurried out of the elevator to the laundry room, unlocked the door (because it locks automatically) and set everything down on my machine. Checked my phone: 11:54am. Eek! I was behind schedule. I began to throw the clothes in the machine at a hurried rate. In my rush, I knocked my keys off the machine and onto the floor. I would have to remember to get them later. My hands fumbled as I tried to get the 8 quarters in the slots. “Why are they so damn tiny?!?” I hurried faster. I started my machine and set my laundry basket on top like I normally do to lay claim. I grabbed my purse and my soap and rushed out the door toward my car, letting the door slam behind me. Normally, I like gentle door closes but, I was late! Checked my phone: 11:55am. I’ve never made it to class in 5 minutes but if I sped, rolled through a couple stop signs, and there was no traffic on Crescent Heights, I was certain I could do it. I was actually really excited at the challenge. “This is gonna be a good day, Andrea,” I said to myself. I got to my car and reached for my keys.....
“Oh my god, oh my god, oh god, oh god…” I mumbled as I frantically dug in my purse for my keys knowing full well they were on the laundry room floor. “Aaaahhhh!” I yelled this as I ran to the laundry room door to try to open it, just in case this was the one time it wouldn’t have automatically locked. It was locked. “Shit! Shit!” Checked my phone: 11:56am. I was panicking! My boyfriend/roommate was at breakfast with a friend so I had been locked out of my car and my apartment and was probably not even getting to class at all at this point! “The landlord!” I yelled. I could NOT for the life of me remember what his apartment number was! I didn’t have his phone number! I didn’t know what to do! They were going to charge $15 to my card and I won’t get my, oh so important work out in for the day! This would make me feel lazy and bad about myself for the rest of the day! What if I couldn’t get to my keys?! How long would I have to wait outside? Could I run to class? I would never make it on time! My day had gone from great to god awful in 30 seconds! I grabbed my phone and dialed my boyfriend’s number. Maybe he could bring me his key. As the phone rang, I spotted one of our old, Russian lady neighbors on the 3rd floor on her way to the elevator. My boyfriend answered and I screamed, “Nevermind!” And I hung up. He never questioned it as this is a regular occurrence. I ran to press the elevator button so I would catch my Russian savior on the way down. I just prayed she would have her key to the laundry room. Checked my phone: 11:58am. Ugh! I was so mad, I was panting and fuming. “I might as well not even go,” I pouted to myself much like a 1st grader would. “Even if she’s got the keys, I’ll be so late. Everyone will look at me when I walk in. It will be awful.” The elevator seemed to be taking FOREVER. I pressed the elevator button over and over, not because I thought it would come faster, but because it was making me feel better. The doors opened and I yelled, “DO YOU HAVE YOUR KEY TO THE LAUNDRY ROOM?!?!” My Russian lady neighbor’s eyes widened and her head cocked to the side a bit. “I was doing laundry and my keys fell on the floor and the door locked behind me and I’m locked out of my apartment and my car and I’M REALLY LATE FOR A PILATES CLASS…..” Wah, wah, wah, why me, me, me.
She gently motioned for me to step into the elevator and she took us down the garage. As we got to the laundry room door, she pulled out her key and stopped, turned to me, put her hand on my arm and in a Russian accent said, “I’ll open this for you if you promise to breathe and relax. You’re too young and beautiful to be so anxious. Also, this laundry room is too expensive and dirty. You shouldn’t use it.”
I was mostly surprised she spoke English, but these words really resonated with me. She had made me realize how worked-up I had gotten over almost nothing. I had spent the last 5 minutes giving myself a heart attack and feeling sorry for myself. It was a big fat dose of perspective. I mean, Holy Crap. What is wrong with me? Checked my phone: 11:59am. I thanked my new mentor profusely, retrieved my keys and trotted to my car and I was going to be OK with being late to class. It just was not a big deal. During the car ride, I took deep breaths. I thought about how silly I had behaved and how there were so many people in the world that have it much worse than I. I should never be so upset. I began to list all the things I was grateful for. It was a nice drive.
My Pilates class started 5 minutes late today.