Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Great Escape

In order to gain access to the building and log in to my computer I have to have an ID card with a magnetized strip kind of like a credit card. Without it, I am just another public citizen taking up space outside of a Federal facility.

In the hectic rush of the morning circus wherein I attempt to wake up, eat, clean myself, and get dressed for work, I occasionally leave this very important piece of identification on the key rack at home.

Since Hannah and I are down to one car, you’d think one of us would remember the card. And you’d think wrong.

This doesn’t occur every day or even every week. But it happens frequently enough to write a blog post about it.

So it was the other morning as we discussed mailing out birthday cards and making sure I had a yogurt in my lunch that neither of us remembered to make sure I had an ID card clipped to my collar. Hannah grabbed the keys, I grabbed my red lunch box, and we were off.

When Hannah pulled up to the building, I gave her a kiss, stepped out of the vehicle, and told her that she could probably pick me up a little early. Then I realized it. I felt under my coat around my collar and I knew right where my ID badge was. And it wasn’t with me.

I quickly turned around and saw that Hannah was pulling away and I ran after her waving my arms frantically and shouting, “Wait, wait!” An elderly gentleman ahead of me, obviously feeling compassion for me, turned just as my wife was passing him, held up his hand, and said, “Miss.”

But it was no use. Hannah didn’t check any of her mirrors. Although everyone else in my immediate vicinity (a good 20 to 30 people) took notice of the guy shouting, running, and waving his arms frantically, my wife was oblivious.

Hannah was driving South in the right exit lane, which meant she would be taking a right to get out of the parking lot. I knew she’d have to drive around the West parking lot, so with my lunch bag in hand I bolted to my right. I had a straight shot through the parking lot to the road on the west side. She’d have to turn and go around. I still had a chance.

I don’t know what it looked like to the morning-weary workers making their way into the building when a crazed twenty-something ran past them in business casual attire with a bright red lunch box, but I’m sure it was a mix of humor and terror. Crazy men on government facilities, though common, are always viewed suspiciously by security.

As I ran past rows of cars I lost sight of Hannah’s vehicle, so I just kept running. I emerged from the funnel of cars and saw there was about 200 feet between where I stood and the road. Hannah was fast approaching, so I continued running and waving my red lunch box.

At about 100 feet she passed me.

Broken and defeated, I began walking back towards the building, dejected. I pulled out my cell phone and tried her number. After she answered, she realized I had left my card. She offered to pick me up, but I just told her to go home and bring it back. Swinging around to get me would just take longer.

I sat out front the building as people walked past me. They knew. Everyone knows when you forget your card. A few minutes later Hannah returned. She asked if I would still be getting out early.

“No,” I replied.

And with that, I began my eight hour workday.