Saturday, September 24, 2011

...I locked my keys in the car

I’m very very very paranoid about locking my keys in the car. I’m always double checking to make sure I have my keys in my hand before leaving my car. I check them and double check to make sure I have them.

Except this one time.

It happened when I was working as a houseparent at a boarding school in Pakistan. I worked there from February 2000 to July 2002 (back in Canada between September 2001 and February 2002).

I took a group of my high school girls to Islamabad for a music festival and competition one year. We were a small group (3 girls plus me) so I drove us in the car the school kept for staff use, a Suzuki Khyber. I’m pretty sure it’s not used anywhere outside of Pakistan. It was 4 doors plus hatchback. I think the North American model was called the Swift. It was one sweet ride, let me tell you.

We were staying at the home of friends in Islamabad. They ran a guest house and frequently hosted staff from our school for getaways and retreats, having been former staff members themselves. I loved visiting their house. It was beautiful and calm. It was always such a respite from my sometimes stressful job. I’m getting off track here now but I really did love that house.

So anyway, I had the three girls with me and one night we went to Jinnah Market for supper. I parked and set the keys down for a minute to look for something. This is important for later in the story. Or, actually it’s important for right now.

I got out, locked the door and closed it. As it was clicking shut I realized the keys were on the seat and had that “Oh no!” moment. I frantically grabbed at the door handle, hoping I could catch it before it locked, even though I had heard the click.

Then I thought “The girls never remember to lock their doors! We’re okay!” So I asked the girls “Did any of you not remember to lock your doors?” They proudly said that they had remembered! Isn’t that great?

Then I thought “Maybe the hatch wasn’t locked!” but no it was locked.

So there we were in the parking lot of the restaurant, an hour and a half drive from the school (where the spare key was). I didn’t know my friends’ phone number to call them for help (I know, right?! Smart). I figured we could get a taxi back to their house, but we didn’t know the street name (Look, it was ISLAMABAD. No one knew the street names. We could have figured it out. Eventually. I knew how to get there after all).

Anyway, there we were in the parking lot, retrying all the doors, hoping maybe someone left a window open (nope) not sure what to do. Suddenly a car pulled up and one of the girls said “Hey! It’s my mom & dad!” They had come to watch her perform the next day and got to Islamabad just that evening. They had come to Jinnah Market to get supper and ended up choosing the same restaurant we did.

We explained what happened and all had a laugh about it. Her dad tried all the doors again, checked the hatch and the windows. Nothing. He volunteered to go to a gas station to see if someone could help us get into the car. It was nice to have them there. If nothing else at least her parents would be able to help us get to our friends house.

So now it was me, the girls, one girl’s mom and a growing crowd of street kids. They were trying to sell us various things or offer to dance for us. One of the boys was selling roses and kept trying to get me to buy one. I was trying to decline and he was shoving them in my face so I finally told him they make me sneeze. He didn’t know what I meant so I pretended to sneeze. This was apparently the funniest thing these kids had ever seen. One of the street kids started singing and another offered to pray to Allah to open the doors for me (for a fee of course). Our little group was turning into quite a party in the parking lot.

Just at that point, another vehicle pulled into the lot. By this point in the event none of us were terribly surprised to see the parents of one of the other girls. The more the merrier!

We explained the situation, we all laughed, they tried the doors (it’s compulsive. you can’t not try the doors even when you know they’re locked). We were discussing just going for supper when the 2nd dad jokingly put his key into the lock on the door of our car. None of us expected it to fit the lock, it was a totally different make of car! We laughed because, of course, Pakistan. Then, to all of our amazement, he turned the key and the lock popped open!!

What are the odds? (I’m terrible at math so if you want to figure them out, have at it and please let me know).

I’m even more paranoid about locking the keys in my car now, in case that wasn’t obvious. I have a remote lock key fob thing now so I’m not as worried about it, but I still do double check every time I get out.

Oh, and the girls did great at the music competition and we made it home in one piece.

...I remembered I had this blog

So, as you can see, I haven't posted anything here for a long time. I'm going to try to change that. I have some ideas for some stories to tell and I want to work on writing more frequently. So, we'll see how long I can keep this going.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Random(ish) Monday

If you are one of those people who get into semantic battles about the haphazard use of the word "random" then go elsewhere today you can shut it I do apologize. I use the word simply to indicate a bunch of unrelated musings.

-I woke up Friday thinking it was Saturday. That was the best couple of minutes until I realized it was Friday and I had to go to work. Needless to say (but will be said anyway) my Friday sucked as a result. I was so cranky.

-When I am cranky all pet peeves are magnified. For example:
*If you tell me you have a "few" questions but then only ask 1 or 2, you may incur my wrath.
*when driving, if you need to change lanes PLEASE for the love of all things Holy do not take 24 minutes to do so!!
*When driving, if you decide you need to be in my lane and only start signalling when your vehicle is even with mine and there is no one behind me, I will not see any reason to slow up so you can get in front of me in my lane.

-I went home for lunch on Friday, figuring that I was so cranky it was best to be alone for a while. I played Mario Kart (Wii!!) while at home and then promptly got back in my car to go back to work. The brain, apparently, could use a few minutes to shift between the 2 driving styles. Apparently.

-On Thursday, out of the blue, The Boy asked if I would like to go to the Symphony on Friday. The Calgary Philharmonic was presenting the Lord of the Rings Symphony with the CPO and Chorus. It was really good.
-More awesome still? They encouraged patrons to dress up. In LOTR costume. For the Symphony.
-More awesome yet? People did.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Welcome to 7th Grade

I work at Junior High. I don't mean I work in a Junior High. I mean my workplace, an office in a telecommunications field, with employees who are well past Junior High age, is basically a Junior High.

There are many isolated instances to support this, but today's incident cemented the feeling of Junior High.

I went into our (very small) lunch room to find that there was no space at the table. Normally there are only a few people in there, but today it was packed. There were chairs but not one person offered to move their chair so that I could fit a chair up to the table.

Did I mention that one of those employees has been giving me the patented 7th grade Freeze Out for the past few days? No?

Yes. It couldn't have been more Junior High if I had had braces and a bad perm.


Maybe I'll start telling those stories. That might be entertaining.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Hello out there, we're on the air/It's Hockey Night tonight

I'm Canadian. That much is obvious from my profile. But there are times when that Canadian-ness becomes more apparent.

Like last night when I caught a few minutes of the pre-season Flames/Coyotes game. My brain switched to "Hockey's Back!!!" mode instantly. It's like a dearly loved friend had come back from a trip. It's that great time of year again.

The Boy just called and asked if I had plans for tomorrow night. I said no, why? He wanted me to guess and my first thought was "Flames Game" so I said "Are we going to the game???!!!" He was somewhat disappointed that I guessed it so quickly (which I fully understand). Either way, I'm gonna get to see some hockey tomorrow night. Yay. And I couldn't be more happy or happy to be Canadian either.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

workplace hazards

I wonder if it's possible to dislocate something in my eyes from all the eye-rolling that takes place at work while listening to co-workers complaining. I wonder if irony unrecognized by my coworkers will eventually do me in. I wonder if the not-so-subtle passive agressive behavior of coworkers will eventually be too much for me and i will end up as an evening news item "Woman goes on rampage with stapler." I wonder if the tension in my back and neck will eventually work itself into such a state that i will curl up into a ball and never come out of it.

Sigh. Where's a sugar-daddy when you need one?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Standing Ovation

My new job is stressing me out. The work load (way more than they mentioned in the interview), the learning curve, the hostile environment created by a caustic co-worker...

I just re-discovered something I had discovered last year around this time:

Songs from recordings of live performances on your iPod (or similar) give you a chance to pretend that you are being given a round of applause. My new workspace is in a cubicle (which, after years of being at reception or similar, i LOVE! privacy-ish!). The next time a "live" song comes up on shuffle, I'm taking a bow.

**btw: I realize it's been way way way too long since i've posted here. I think I may end up starting up here again, due to the aforementioned stressful job and relative privacy at work... shh...

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


1. Yesterday evening it was really warm (for May)(in Calgary)(it was about 25C at 7-ish pm) so I went for a walk down to the St*rb*cks just down the road to get a fr*pp*cino.
I ordered: "Grande Decaf Fr*pp*cino".
The Overly Made Up and Hair-Done (OMUHD) girl at the cash register said back to me: "Grande Decaf Fr*pp*cino?" She then turned to the B*rista behind her and repeated: "Grande Decaf Cappucino."
"Fr*pp*cino", I corrected.
"Right, Cappucino." OMUHD asserted.
I corrected again: "No, Fr*pp*cino."
OMUHD looked confused and said (to me): "Fr*pp*cino?" At my assurance that this was correct, she turned back to B*rista girl and said "Fr*pp*cino. Right. Grande Fr*pp*cino."
I reminded OMUHD of the "Decaf" portion of the order. She turned, once again to the B*rista girl and said "Grande Decaf Cappucino I mean Fr*pp*cino."
That established, it was B*rista girl's turn to be confused.
"Decaf?" she asked. "We don't have Decaf."
There was then a brief discussion between B*rista and Overly Made Up and Hair-Done (OMUHD) girl about the availability of the Decaf (whatever it is they needed. I missed that part). OMUHD turned back to me and told me that they couldn't do a decaf Fr*pp*cino. I asked her why not and got a long story about the missing (whatever it is). OMUHD had the look of a trapped (overly made up and hair-done) deer as she tried to find a solution for me.
"We have Regular and Coffee Lite."
"What is 'Coffee Lite'?" I asked, trying to figure out how that could be a substitute for decaf.
"Well, um. It's lighter. Like it has less calories?"

2. This afternoon at work, a coworker stood behind me for 5 minutes not saying anything. I finally realized she must be there to talk to me, so I asked her "Are you waiting for me?"
"Yes," she said. "I didn't want to bother you."
So I assured her she wasn't bothering me and asked what I could do to help.
"Do you have any undone paperwork for the City?" she asked.
"Like pending invoices?" I asked her.
"No, invoices you haven't done yet." she corrected in the sort of tone one uses with small children.
I told her I didn't have anything for her so she went to find out what was going on. Later, she came back to me with some paperwork that needed to be invoiced.
I asked her, "Do you need me to enter that?" indicating the paperwork in her hand.
"No," she replied. "You just need to enter this," also indicating the paperwork in her hand.