Friday, September 17, 2010

Neurological Impairment and Dumpster Diving

I suffer from Visual Perceptual Spatial Disorder (VPSD for short). In plain English, this means that I grossly under or overestimate the size of things, especially as it relates to those things fitting in other things. (my husband loves this about me.)

Apparently this is a documented disability caused by neurological impairment--probably induced from too many hits on the head as a child. 

Today, I experienced two bouts of this impairment, leading to an adventurous, albeit stressful day. I had promised to gift my boss' son with our skateboard ramp. Only used once or twice then discarded, the ramp has been a popular outdoor welfare hotel for many varieties of arachnids and their millions of babies. 

I awoke at 7am to drown the arachnids with the power washer. This may seem a bit harsh, but I didn't want the little buggers to take up new residence in my car. Despite the intense jet spray, their screen doors (web filaments) did not break. 

Fwd to operation transport. My boss who lives in the city expressed concern about the size of the ramp. I assured her that it was no more than 5 feet and suitable for city skating. (VPSD incident #1) When I actually tried to put the ramp in my car, I realized that it was more like 10 feet. The bolts were rusted and it wasn't coming apart. Not to mention the arachnids who had survived the morning Tsunami, now bolted in every nook and cranny of my car. 

After folding down the back seat AND front seat, the ramp fit with 1/4 inch of spare space. I drove to work for a meeting. I told my boss that I would drop the ramp at her house after the meeting. She seemed a bit skeptical, but I was insistent. I brought the stupid thing all that way, risking massive heart failure due to spider bites. I was NOT taking it home again. 

Fwd--meeting over. I go to the car and realize NO KEYS. NO KEYS!!!!!!!! I am parked on the streets of Philly. My meter is due to expire in 5 minutes.  Patrol trolls lurk at the corner, waiting to dole out tickets equivalent to the cost of a monthly car payment. I have NO money. No money for the meter, no money for the train ride home to recover extra keys, no money for food, no money for a drink which would have calmed me down a bit. 

I panic, hyperventilate and panic some more. Like a catatonic psych patient, I trace, retrace and retrace 4 more times, my exact path from car to office, office to car, hoping my keys have fallen out of my pocket. I peer in my car window to see if the keys are locked inside. I climb onto the hood of my car and press my face against the windshield for a better look. NO KEYS. 

As usual my husband does not answer the cellphone or text, despite the fact that I say it is a DIRE emergency. I get down on my knees and pray...for real. And here's the thing. I get an immediate answer in the form of a little voice that says CHECK THE DUMPSTER. I had thrown out my lunch bag on the way to the meeting. Herein lies VPSD #2. 

People dumpster dive all the time. Ok, maybe not the people you hang out with. But still. It didn't seem like it would be all that difficult. Keep in mind, that I'm on an IVY LEAGUE campus and there are LOTS of people walking on Walnut Street. I'm trying to scale my way up the metal dumpster, and can't seem to get a foot hold. The dumpster is taller than me and I look like an uncoordinated spaz as I slip and fall into the bottom. 

Thankfully there was a lot of construction debris--meaning that there were minimal rotting food particles and not too many rats. MIRACLE OF MIRACLES. I find my lunch bag and after digging for a few more moments, I FIND MY KEYS!!! Hoisting myself out of the dumpster proved just as embarrassing as falling in. 

I find my boss' house without further ado. As I'm unloading the skateboard ramp, it breaks. I mean an ENTIRE section breaks off. I'm a bit ticked, but I dutifully drag it onto her brick patio. There's an angry pricker tree that attacks me. Scratched, bleeding and smelling of garbage, I finally leave. 

Late for my silkscreen printing class, I park in Old City and pay the meter. 2 hours later, I come out to recharge the meter. I see a TICKET. I chase down the elderly troll who has ticketed me. HEY! I still have 7 minutes left on my meter. He smirks saying that he ticketed me for parking in a loading zone. WHEN DID IT BECOME A LOADING ZONE? I HAVE PARKED HERE BEFORE. THERE AREN'T ANY DRIVEWAYS OR EVEN BUSINESSES THAT REQUIRE LOADING.  The troll races down the street. I never saw a senior citizen move that fast. Not even in Zumba class. 

When I relate my  predicament to my silkscreen teacher, she immediately knows the troll, who is famous in the neighborhood for ticketing when there is still time left on the meter. He must work on commission or he's a vindictive jerk.  He EVEN called the tow truck on a pregnant woman with a toddler who mistakenly parked on the wrong side of the street. I also find out that the city routinely changes the signs regarding loading zones, specifically to confuse drivers and generate more income for the city. 

I have veered a bit off topic. VSPD to elderly trolls to divine intercession. Life lesson? Don't drive into the city, AVOID trolls at all costs, dumpster dive only if you are in plastic clothes and don't kill arachnids--they will regroup their armies and attack with a vengeance. Most importantly--prayer works!!! 

Just for the record, the photo isn't me. I sincerely hope my butt didn't look this big as I plummeted to the bottom. I did appreciate her posing (notice the leg lift) and perfectly manicured red nails


  1. I came across your blog after hitting "next blog" a few times after mine...your writing is wonderful, and you are absolutely hysterical!
    i LOVED reading about your adventures on this most adventurous day...never a dull moment eh?
    Take care!

  2. Haha yeah!!! I agree it was absolutely hilarious!!!!!!

  3. Ah...the dumpster dive. Sometimes it happens to the best of us. haha Sorry you had such a rough time, but at least you can put a humorous spin on things and smile through events that would frustrate pretty much anyone (especially the spiders, lost keys, broken ramp, and ticket!) You're an inspiration to us all! When will we see a new blog entry? :) Hopefully soon. :)
    Peace and Love, Meagan