To Hell and Back

Yesterday I lost my M card, which is like my key to the universe. It grants me access to various buildings, including my residence hall where I eat and sleep and do lots of other things (okay, it’s mostly eating and sleeping), and it allows me to get meals and do laundry and take the bus. I don’t know how I lost it, but I was panicking by the time I got up to my dorm (some well-meaning person let me into the building, where I was pacing and saying things like, “I’ve got to get to French! I’VE GOT TO GET TO FRENCH!”). I then saw that I had received a miraculous e-mail: “Your M card was found and returned to this location!” Ah! Sweet relief! I quickly Googled-mapped the crap out of the location and found that it was a fifteen-minute walk away. Whatever, I thought cheerfully as I grabbed my bag and a snack just for the hell of it. Whatever! Fifteen minutes? Psh! That’s not bad! I’ll get some fresh air! People need fresh air! Right? Fifteen minutes… that’s not bad at all.

Well, fifteen minutes is not fifteen minutes when you don’t know where exactly you’re going. Fifteen minutes will soon turn to twenty, then thirty, as you press your eyeballs to the map on your cell phone and whisper, “But that doesn’t make sense. I am on that street! Where the hell is the Starbucks I’m supposed to be seeing?

Okay, so finally I found the place. I bypassed the elevator and trudged up the stairs to the third floor, where the map told me to go. I smiled at the lady and explained to her about the e-mail. She directed me to an office downstairs.

Well, okay. Smile faltering slightly, I hurried downstairs. What do you know… there was a mile-long line. I was sweating a little now. I got in line and waited another fifteen minutes in line before it was my turn. Then I stepped up to the counter and told her about my M card.

She frowned. Oh, God. Not the frown.

“No M cards have been returned to us today,” she said. “You should check the office upstairs.”

I told her I’d done that already, and then she told me to please wait a moment. She said she didn’t normally do this, but she would waive the fee and make me a new one. I was pathetically grateful. Thank you, kind woman! Bless you and your family!

It wasn’t until today that I had to use my M card at the door—someone already had it open yesterday—and lo and behold, I discovered the new M card didn’t work. No, I thought frantically. No. No. No.

Some kind girl let me in with a smile. I wanted to punch her in the face. I realize this was an incredibly violent and ungrateful reaction. I was just so pissed, I would have punched Mother Theresa in the face. I contented myself with mentally punching my own face, and then I wheeled around and embarked on the journey back to the M card location center. I was tired. I was mad. It was raining. I arrived there looking like a soaking wet lunatic, and I dragged myself to the upstairs office and explained the whole story. The woman said, “Ohhh! She should have checked our lost and found. Do you have another form of ID? I’ll go check for you.”

And it was there. I will never lose my M card again. From this day forth I will treat it like my firstborn child.

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