Friday, July 20, 2012

Careful. We don't want to learn from this.

Dayton -- it's for daredevils.

Exhibit A: The great stolen car episode. Don't report anything stolen, because you're as likely to become Public Enemy #1 as to have anything recovered.

Exhibit B: Let's talk about elevators. Man do I ever miss Cherie Berry ... her friendly face smiling up at me in every elevator ride gave me such confidence in my immediate future. In my office, I hold my breath as I push "1" for the lobby, then brace myself on the golden metal rail. I've been told Cedar Point has the most amazing roller coasters in the Midwest ... or even the country, but after riding this elevator multiple times a day I'm not even sure I need to go there. I get way more than my desired dose of stomach-in-mouth-sensation just trying to get home from work. And what's that smell? Yesterday I could've sworn a mother was smearing diaper rash ointment on her child's bare butt in the third elevator for the powerful odor wafting out the door, but the elevator was empty.

Exhibit C: This one's for real ... last week there were two gunpoint robberies at The Greene ... what I previously thought was the safest spot in town. I might have to invest in a can of Mace. Or some self-defense classes.

Exhibit D: The parking garage. Crumbling cement, blind corners, creepy stairwells, a gloomy basement and ... I think the attendants are long lost dwarves looking for Snow White and company.

Exhibit E: The time I thought I was about to get murdered, but instead bought a bookshelf. We've all been warned about Craigslist, and I try to be careful about that stuff. But the lure of a $30 bookshelf and the chance to empty the boxes on my bedroom floor and get moved in was too strong. I called the number on the post and arranged to meet at a storage unit off Keowee downtown. I circled around once before finding the parking lot of a large imposing warehouse. A man and a woman met me by the large bay door.
"The elevator ride is free of charge," Mike -- a said as he raised the chain link gates on either side of the freight elevator and pushed the red button.
I didn't tell anyone where I was going, I realized. The woman could be another victim ... or an accomplice. 
We got off the elevator and walked down a dim hallway with padlocked doors on either side. The man unlocked a heavy steel door and it slowly swung open. I braced myself for an empty room with a single chair or something creepy and foreboding like that, sliding my car key in between my fingers.
Mr. Phipps (my driver's ed teacher) taught us all what to do in these situations, mister. His instructions were graphic. 
Fortunately for all involved, the room beyond was only a cluttered storage unit. Mike picked up the bookshelf with one hand and directed us back to the elevator. The other woman, who later appeared to be Mike's significant other, darted in and grabbed an old quilt and a ratty green Aeropostale hoodie.
"Need anything else?" Mike asked, point around the piles of lamps, rubbermaid containers, coffee tables and who knows what else.
"File cabinet? Ping pong table?" I asked. I have a dream of turning our basement into a 20-something's destination hangout -- bumpin' music, Christmas lights from the ceiling, ping pong table equipped with lots of extra paddles, a mini bar (hey we already have a [utility] sink down there), bean bag chairs, darts, the works. 
"I think I got a file cabinet in my other unit, if you can come over there with me." 
I followed him across the street to another unit feeling like I was on an episode of Storage Wars and soon became the proud owner of my first filing cabinet. Since of the two items it was the only one I could actually fit in my car, I slid it onto the seat and promised to come back later with Abbie's SUV to retrieve the bookshelf. I drove away happy to be alive and proud of my Craigslist success, but vowing next time to call a friend before going into an unknown situation like that.

But in all seriousness, there's a lot to adjust to moving into the city. I can't say I'm making the transition with much grace. I'm not a paranoid person, it's just unnerving not knowing what to expect each day. I don't want to overreact to a string of bad luck, but I don't want to be naive. I guess it's all part of the learning process.

Here's a recap of the week's relatively tame adventures in iPhone pictures (sorry, Oscar --my 6-year-old Canon Rebel XT--is still out of commission until my new battery charger arrives from China):

The Craigslist bookshelf stocked with all my personal effects.

Old Chapel Hill Map/Calendar illustration rehabilitated with scotch tape and poster board.

A much-needed Eloise break: Nanny is my mostly companion. Sometimes I pat her on the botto, which is large. 

A Cheerwine float provided a welcome taste of home and the South. 

Sunset from my front porch, sans Instagram. 

Hands down the funniest moment of the week: meeting a source for breakfast at Bob Evans on Sharts Road. 

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