I brought my typewriter to Philadelphia because the return key had fallen off. Or maybe it was my sewing machine.
There was a long line to talk to Customer Service and I had to take a number. There were about 20 people in front of me so I decided to take a shuttle bus to the garage and return my white rental van. (I don't know how I managed to simultaneously take a bus and return a vehicle, but it's my story, so work with me.).
I didn't know the return bus route to the typewriter (or sewing machine) repair center, so I had to walk. It was about 20 blocks away and by this time I was carrying a very heavy bag of potting soil. This impeded my progress and interfered with my enjoyment of the scenery. I considered ditching the potting soil, but I hate to waste. Then, passing a garden center/florist, I hatched a plan: I asked the proprietor if he would like my potting soil. He was demonstrably pleased and I poured it into one of the planters lining the sidewalk, saving a bit for myself and significantly lightening my load.
I continued along my merry way, stopping at a sidewalk cafe where I struck up a conversation with the guy sitting across the table. I was particularly witty and charming and decided that he had a crush on me, especially after I shared my clever story of the potting soil. I glanced at my watch and realized that my number was probably coming up back at the Typewriter (or Sewing Machine) repair center so I left my admirer behind and high-tailed it back to the store.
Upon arrival, I saw that the store had cleared out and wondered whether closing time was near. I approached the service desk, where the proprietor wrote up a receipt detailing what needed to be done to my typewriter (or sewing machine) and asked if I could come back to pick it up tomorrow. I couldn't, I explained, because I lived too far away. I decided to return on Wednesday, instead, which in my mind was BRILLIANT because suddenly it was almost Thanksgiving weekend and I could simultaneously pick up my typewriter (or sewing machine) AND Thing 1 at college and bring them both home.
Preternaturally clear-headed, I asked the customer service person what the store's hours were and he replied that the store was open until 10 p.m. I doubted this was the case the night before Thanksgiving (not many people demanding typewriter -- or sewing machine - repairs just hours before the big holiday, I reasoned) so I reminded him of the upcoming holiday. He asked his associate what time the store would be closing on Erev Thanksgiving: 2:00 p.m. I made a mental note to get up early and make my way back to Philadelphia next Wednesday.
I was very pleased with how I had handled the challenges of the day. Then I woke up to one cat sitting on my bladder and the other one walking across my head and knew I was back.
I miss Philadelphia.