Monday, January 3, 2011

A day in the life

I had been putting it off for awhile, but I decided I needed to get that replacement Social Security card. You see, a year ago (give or take three or four months) my wallet wiggled its way out of my back pants pocket while I was sitting down in this coffee shop. It had a nasty habit of doing that, but this time I didn’t notice its displacement until 15 minutes after I left the shop; when I returned in consternation, naturally nobody had seen it. Besides my driver’s license, library cards and contact addresses and phone numbers that I didn’t bother to memorize, my Social Security card was gone. I don’t know why exactly I kept that card in my wallet, except that it seemed handy when Homeland Security and ICE people were giving me the evil eye at the airport.

Anyways, I made my way to the downtown Seattle Social Security Administration office, and I no sooner stepped in the door when this guy wearing a Nazi storm trooper outfit stepped out of nowhere and demanded that I hand over my small carrying bag, which I use to carry around my netbook. I knew the drill with these guys and watched him shuffle his fat, pudgy hands with affected lack of haste inside the bag; within a side pocket he discovered, to my surprise, a pair of scissors. I had completely forgotten about those scissors. I was asked for an explanation about this offending item, and I told the storm trooper that I used them to cut my hair; I heard a chuckle from some guy sitting behind the glass a few feet away. Likely story. But it was true: I keep my hair shoulder length (but it’s not so long because I hardly have a neck). I decided a few months ago that maybe I should get a haircut, which is usually accomplished using a hand mirror and scissors in front of a bathroom wall mirror. I found the hand mirror but not the scissors, so I had to buy a new one. I always carry my netbook bag with me, everywhere, so when I made the scissors purchase I put it in the side pocket of my bag. Predictably, I not only forgot about the haircut, but leaving the scissors in the bag. I was certainly more surprised than the storm trooper, who probably assumed that scissors are the weapon of choice for “Mexicans” and “Muslims,” since white folks have such a hard time distinguishing the two when it suits them. The storm trooper told me that I had two choices, either remove the lethal weaponry from the property, or he’d keep them and have them destroyed; he apparently couldn’t just keep them until I was finished with my business. What a load of bovine scatology. I took the scissors from him and went outside across the street and tossed them in a garbage can so I could retrieve them later. Good thing I didn’t mention the half-inch key-chain knife I had in my pocket, or the threat level would have been raised to Peppermint.

I came back just in time to hear somebody calling my number, and when I explained my situation to the person behind the counter, she started reading me the Patriot Act, and I was saying “Yes, Yes, Yes” just to stay awake. Before I could forget why I was even there, she asks me the standard interrogation about names and places, and when that was finished, she started reading that damned Patriot Act again. Before I get a chance to say something ornery I’m given a receipt and I’m finally out of there. The next thing I know I riding up an escalator in the Seattle Convention Center; now, what the hell am I doing in here?! Oh, yeah, I’m going to the restroom. Inside the restroom there is this man making animal noises and speech patterns that must have been King’s English around 500,000 B.C., give or take a few 100,000 years. I figure he must have been released early from Western State Hospital for good behavior. In no time I’m going back down the escalator, and I notice the entrance to the ACT theater: “A Contemporary Theater.” Get it? I wonder what clever bastard dreamed that up; probably someone who thought he or she was clever.

It’s getting dark now, so that must mean my day is over. As usual, none too soon.

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