It all started a few weeks or so ago, when I noticed the bottom buttons on my phone stopped working. This prevented my phone from being able to do things like "make calls" or "do anything". I know with android devices you can root them and customize them, and if I really wanted to, I could've worked around not having the functionality of those four buttons, but fuck that I was under warranty and also lazy so GIMME A NEW ONE.
I braced myself for awfulness, because despite how simple you expect it should be, it never seems to be as easy as:
Me: Hey my phone's broken.
Rep: Terribly sorry about that, we'll send you a new one!
*new one arrives a day later*
Me: Hey thanks, it works great!
Rep: You're welcome, can I interest you in some potpourri?
So in an effort to get a replacement phone, I sent a message to the cell phone company's customer service, telling them about my problem. I waited somberly.
A day later, I got a message saying "Hey did you try all this obvious shit that has never fixed anything ever?" I politely responded with something like "Yes, I turned it off, and back on, and it's still broken," expecting to go back and forth for days with someone that had no common sense, and who was probably reading from a script. But impressively, fairly shortly after my initial response, I guess whoever was in customer service was like "fuck it let's just skip steps 2 through 8 and just give this guy a new phone." And for that, I was very appreciative. They told me they would overnight me a new phone, with the stipulation that I return the broken one within 14 days. Wow! This was actually going great! Ha ha HAAAA!!
My first mistake was telling them to deliver it where I lived. Silly me right?! Their first attempt to deliver it was at around 12:30pm on a Tuesday. Because I was not one of the probably 8 people on earth that are normally home at that time, I did not receive it that day. I figured "hey, they'll probably try at a different time tomorrow and my roommate will probably be home if I'm not. The next day they tried to deliver at about 3:30pm, but my roommate's job was like "HEY EVERYONE LET'S HAVE A MEETING TODAY OF OUT FUCKING NOWHERE FOR SOME REASON!" So once again, despite him normally being home at 3:30, the fates would not allow delivery on this day either. Whatever, I'm sure the 3rd time's the charm right? Well, you are far too optimistic, anonymous reader.
So on the 3rd day, I returned home to see a delivery slip that shows they tried at about 1pm, and this was their final delivery attempt! RAAGE! But! The slip said they would hang onto it for 2 days at a holding center, and I could pick it up after 5pm if I brought the slip and a photo ID. I was ready for a bike ride, so I checked the website to make sure it was actually at the holding center before setting off. It said something vague like "it's on a truck" which is basically like saying "it exists." I refreshed the page endlessly until about 6:45 (so I guess not endlessly), and it finally said it had arrived at the holding center. Good thing I didn't just go "after 5 pm!" Unfortunately, this holding center was in the midst of East New York. Where is that? Let me show you a little map. I did not create this map, and although it's a little outdated, I think it basically tells you what you need to know:
See that "don't even think" portion? YUP! The holding center is located even farther south than that arrow is pointing. I don't mean to cast aspersions on East New York, but suffice it to say, I wasn't very excited about biking a couple miles into this area. Hey, but at least in waiting for the fedex website to update, it had gotten nice and dark!
So I ventured forth on my serendipitous journey. Surely vast and untold treasures awaited.
I hopped onto my bike and plunged into the darkness. Keep in mind, because my phone didn't really work, I could not rely on GPS to guide me. I had to resort to the antiquated employment of pen and paper.
|"Instruct carriage driver to turn right at first cow path."|
The ride itself was fairly uneventful, aside from riding past a fresh car accident, and the annoying discovery that this neighborhood didn't really see street signs as a necessity. See, I had written down which streets I needed to turn onto, but failed to include extra landmarks. You know like "turn onto main st, and if you reach smith st, you missed your turn." So I would ride for awhile, and then come upon what may have been my turn, only to notice that there was no sign indicating what street this was fucking ANYWHERE. I had to improv it a bit, taking a couple wrong turns, eventually figuring out which street I was on at the next intersection, and doubling back. Eventually I arrived at the fedex holding center. This is what it looked like:
|Ok, maybe just what it felt like..|
Once I got up to the counter, I showed the guy my slip, and a photo ID, you know, like it said, right on the slip. He asked "do you have a proof of address?" I said "well, no..the slip said I needed to bring just this, and a photo ID." He gave me a shitty look, like a shitty asshole, and with a shitty tone said "It's our policy to get proof of address for certain items as well." I tried to remain polite and said "Oh sorry, I didn't notice that, where does it say that I needed that? I would've brought some if I'd noticed." To be fair, he could probably tell I was being passive aggressive as fuck, and that my tone was only very minimally sheathing what I was thinking, namely "OH YEAH? SHOW ME WHERE IT SAYS THAT DIPSHIT." He paused, still with a shitty look and shittily said "I'm just telling you for future reference, so just remember to bring it next time. I'll release it to you this one time though." I wanted to launch into a tirade something along the lines of "Good! You fucking better! I brought exactly what your note told me to bring so don't fuck with me!" but figured that wouldn't help me get my package. He returned with my phone, still being all shitty, and I signed for it and left. In keeping with the night's events, more misfortune followed. The phone came in a box much bigger than was necessary, and I realized "hmm, I didn't bring a backpack, how am I going to carry this?" God I'm an idiot sometimes.
First I tried riding the bike with one hand, while balancing the box in the other. I rode about 4 feet before realizing this would most likely end in my death. So then I managed to awkwardly stuff the box into my coat, only it wouldn't really stay put unless I rode my bike like I imagine Quasimodo would. This was not ideal, but it would have to do.
And now began the journey back home.
I have a pretty bad sense of direction. If it's more than 3 turns, I'll probably get lost. Again, my phone didn't really work, so I had to read my written directions in reverse, but adjust a bit because I didn't want to bike the wrong way down narrow one way streets. Why didn't I write a second set of instructions for the way back, since I would need to find a slightly different return route? BECAUSE MY QUILL PEN RAN OUT OF INK. No, actually because...fuck you.
Anyway, I figured this wouldn't be too big of a deal, so I set forth, mostly relieved that my sojourn was almost over.
My inner monologue at this point was something like "LALA I DON'T CARE WHAT HAPPENS EVER I'M LEAVING THIS TERRIBLE PLACE LALALALA" and to make things even BETTER, at one of the intersections I happened to glance down, probably to avoid a legendary pothole, and found $5! No way right?! I crammed the $5 into my back pocket, pretty satisfied with my life up to this point, and even decided to bike the wrong way down a one way street! Who cares if I wasn't supposed to, I had a new phone and $5, so I was basically indestructible! I wondered what I would buy with my $5. Ice cream? Beer? Beer? I rode a few more blocks, but couldn't remember what street I was looking for next, so I grabbed my directions, confirmed my route, and then stuffed the directions back into the same back pocket with the $5. Only what's this? This pocket feels a bit empty..oh god no.
My keys! My keys were gone! I felt probably about as close to getting covered with diarrhea as you can get without actually being covered with diarrhea. I thought about what was on my keychain. Could I go without these keys? Maybe.. I had my 2 apartment keys, a mailbox key, a bike lock key, a drum key, and a practice room key. Most of those were replaceable. But oh, I also had a little tag on my keys with my address on them that I got when I first moved in, that I never bothered to remove. So great! If I didn't find my keys, some random asshole in one of the worst neighborhoods in brooklyn could stumble upon them, and know exactly which building they would unlock! Awesome!!!!
I figured I had dropped my keys when I found that $5. The lord giveth, and the lord taketh away indeed. So after a few minutes of going over my options, I resigned myself to the fact that basically I had 2. Go back and look for my keys, or don't. The good thing was, if anyone felt like giving me shit, I was on a bike, and they would have to be a really determined crazy person to catch up with me. I liked my chances, and biked back into the depths of human dissatisfaction.
Of course now, I was all turned around. One state of mind that is very much not conducive to good memory is "violent rage" which is basically what I was feeling. I started to play out the possible end to the night's events in my head, willing to subject myself to the possibility of utter despair as long as there was an equal chance of jubilation. I biked back to where I thought I had found the $5, only to think "wait, is this actually where I found the $5?" Apparently my lust for riches had blinded me to my surroundings, and I could no longer remember at which intersection I had discovered my fortune. So now I had to bike around the whole neighborhood, GPS-less, angry, and growing more and more upset by the minute that chancing upon this $5 had sparked this most unfortunate chain of events. After looking at a couple spots I thought might've been where I'd lost the keys, and failing to find them, I threw up my arms in exasperation. I decided to bike almost all the way back to the fedex holding center, and retrace my route entirely.
This was perfect, because I wanted to bike around this neighborhood as long as possible.
The whole search was basically uneventful, which was good and bad. Good, because it meant I didn't get mugged or anything, and bad, because it also meant that I never found my keys. I had been over every intersection multiple times, and figured that either someone had already picked up my keys, they had fallen into a sewer drain, or I just hadn't spotted them. If I just hadn't spotted them, then I never would, because I couldn't spend the entire night searching. I frustratedly biked all the way back home, buzzed back into the apartment, vented, and drank copious amounts of alcohol. But at least now I could activate my new phone!
Here's how the activation process went.
Me: Ok it says here to just turn the phone on and follow the steps. Ok, *turns on*. Ok, looks like it's connecting to the network.
Me: Ok, hmm, it's not connecting to the network. Guess I'll try again.
Me: Dammit, something's wrong. OF COURSE. *cancel*. Guess I'll just call customer service with this phone to see what I need to do. Usually they'll allow you to at least call that number.
Me: ...it won't even call customer service?! Ok, I guess I'll take this apart, put the battery back in my old phone, and try on that one.
Other Phone: No!
Me: WHAT? THIS PHONE ISN'T WORKING EITHER?!?! Spence, can I borrow your phone?
Me: *Dials customer service*
Rep: Hi thank you for calling your customer service center, my name is whatever, and I'm just so happy to be taking your call right now, I would love to assist you with whatever problem you are having, but first, I would like to..
Me: SHUT UP AND LISTEN TO MY PROBLEM.
Me: My old phone broke, so you folks mailed me a new one, and it's not activating properly.
Rep: LOL DID YOU TRY TURNING IT ON.
Me: ...DON'T FUCK WITH ME.
Rep: Ok, let me look at your records here *beep boop boop* OH! It looks like we forgot to do the thingy that we needed to do to make the new phone work! Let me just press a few buttons here, *beep boop boop*....There! Ok, try again, it should work normally!
Me: *sigh*...ok thank you!
Rep: LOL YOU'RE SO WELCOME THANK YOU FOR CALLING THE CUSTOMER SERVICE CENTER WITH YOUR ISSUES, I'M GLAD WE WERE ABLE TO ASSIST, PLEASE CALL US BACK WITH ANY OF YOUR ISSUES! IF YOU--
Me: *click*..ok, let's try this again.
Me: AAAHAHAHAHAHA HALLELUJAH!!!
So to celebrate, I drank some more alcohol, and rejoiced. By then I was ready to go to bed, so I triumphantly walked back into my room, and collapsed onto my chair.
On my desk,
Were my keys.