The good news is that I found out today there is no immaculate conception (or any kind of conception) going on in this body. I was starting to wonder if my ovaries had gotten lost.

The other good news is that I was able to get back in my condo!

After, you know, I locked myself out.

It was such an interesting lesson, or series of lessons. There are some other things I want to talk about, somewhat related to the lessons I learned today, but first the obvious lesson is of paying attention. We get so rushed that we forget things. Parents forget babies (and dogs and cats) in hot cars, we forget to take our keys with us as we leave the house, things that if we weren’t rushed and tired and so concerned about people breaking in and stealing our stuff we wouldn’t necessarily have to worry about.

Lesson number one. Slow down. Pay attention. Think. Remember. Mindfulness, right?

iced cappucinoLesson number two: some people suck! I was in a panic after I realized I was locked out (and not a single person here or anywhere has my key…or almost not a single person), thought about breaking my window, I didn’t even have a cell phone, and I had no idea what to do. Remembered that I had a cat sitter now, who had my keys, but of course I didn’t have her number handy. Or a phone. Since my cell phone was handily locked inside along with my keys. So I went over towards the pool, and asked a guy sunbathing if he could help. Explained that what I needed was to look up a phone number and make a phone call. “I don’t have a cell phone” was his reply. Okaaay. I mean, that was actually step two of my issues. I didn’t have the phone number yet! I asked if I could use his house phone, and he said, “I really don’t want to do that.” Fine, mister, have a nice day! And, by the way, if you ever need help, please don’t ask me, because I’m going to be a bitch and let you talk to the hand.

Lesson number three: not everyone sucks! My next thought was: coffeeshop! Barrista boy! Barrista boy, whose name I know now to be Paul, is really a nice guy, and I knew he’d help where he could. There is free wi-fi at the coffeeshop, and there tend to be lots of laptop wielding people there in the general “after work” hours. Probably a lot of bloggers. (Hm. Blogsexuals, anyone? Maybe that’s where we should be meeting our cookiesexual blogsexual partners! lol) So anyway, I jog there – it is only a 10 minute walk, maybe less, but I’m jazzed on nervous energy by now, so I hurried there. There was a guy outside with crutches. I’m not sure what had happened or how recently but he was missing part of his right leg. I smiled at him distractedly and went inside.

Where I met a most helpful young man named Sam. “I have a sort of strange request…” I began. He was probably hoping for some deviant sexual positions (then again, he might have been wishing I was a guy. I have no -dar, gay or straight), but I told him my story. “You need an internet connection?” YES! So I looked up my cat sitter, and he lent me his cell phone to make the call. I left a message. Fretted, because I wasn’t sure when I’d hear from her. “Look up some locksmiths, just in case,” Sam suggested. And so I did, wrote their numbers down.

“You know, ” Sam said, “there might be a reason you weren’t supposed to be in your condo right now. This could be fate looking out for you.” Jury’s out on that one, but the thought was much appreciated! He commiserated with me, reassured me, and was just a sweetheart. “I’d buy you a drink,” I said earnestly, “but that would require a wallet, and I don’t have access to mine at the moment.” He laughed. “No worries!” he said. I left him to his work on his computer and sat to read the paper.

“Bush had a rash!” the Washington Post (or was it Times?) said. “Bush considers cutting Corporate Tax!” the same paper said. Hm. Connection, do you think? This same paper had an ironic headline the other day on their digital banner as I drove by: “U.S. to host Global Climate Change Summit!” This is the same country that refused to sign Kyoto, right? Right. Maybe the Washington Times is the east coast version of The Onion?

I waited about 40 minutes, and didn’t hear from my cat sitter, so I borrowed Sam’s cell phone again and called the locksmith. $90 minimum and 30 minutes, they said. Okay, I told them to come and break me into my condo. Sam and Paul both mentioned the locksmith that was across the street, suggesting I check them out too. They might be cheaper.

So I went across the street. Nope, very nice, but not cheaper. I took her card anyway, and went back to the coffeeshop to thank my two buddies again, and head back home to wait for the locksmith.

spicesLesson number four: go with the nice people, even if they cost more. The extra money is worth the time you’ll save. So I waited about 30+ minutes for the other locksmith. No luck. I trudged back to the coffeeshop, thankful that this didn’t happen yesterday. (we had record temps of 110 yesterday and the typical 90% humidity; today didn’t even hit 100, so it was downright balmy to be doing laps between my place and the coffeeshop) I was laughing at myself, cataloging all these lessons, as I walked up to the coffeeshop again, passing the one-legged guy for like the fifth time. I laughed as I walked by and he laughed back. It was sort of our secret handshake without hands by then.

Sam was gone by then, but Paul handed me the coffeeshop phone, and I called the nice locksmith people, run by a woman named, of all things, Faith. She said it would be about 30 minutes, she actually apologized for that (it was after hours by then) but assured me that they would indeed show up. I talked to Paul for a few minutes (he’s really a cool guy) and then headed back to my condo for AA Locksmiths to show up, giving the one-legged guy a cheery “have a nice night!” as I walked by. I think he was a nice guy too, because he said “take care, ma’am!” in return.

Lesson number five: really a repeat of lesson three and four. The AA guy, whatever his name was, was already there waiting. He got me in, no problem, I paid, and off he went.

And now I want to go back to Lesson number 1 – slow down, pay attention. But in a life or death kind of way.

A friend of mine posted on her AR blog recently about two related subjects. The first was dogs and cats left in hot cars, and how most of us know (hopefully!) just how dangerous this is. The interior of cars heats up so quickly, and this is deadly for cats and dogs, as well as babies. I’m sure we’ve all seen at least one headline about a parent leaving their baby in the car, with tragic consequences. I’m sure we know that whether it is a baby, a cat, or a dog, we can be pretty certain it was not on purpose. These are mistakes, and tragic ones. Sometimes through ignorance, but very often through a simple mistake. We are human, mistakes do get made.

My friend talked to a hypnotherapist friend to ask “How can we make this less likely to happen?”

Her friend said to be mindful about it. Say the name of each dog as you take them out of the car, but only say their name when all four feet have hit the ground outside the car. Say their names with deliberation. All this does is make us slow down and pay attention, right? Sounds simple enough, and it can be adapted to anyone in our care, anyone depending on us to not leave them in a hot car.

My friend had another story, this one about sunroofs or moonroofs. She’d stopped to visit a friend once, and left her roof (sun or moon, I can’t remember!) open so the interior of the car wouldn’t get quite so hot. When she got into her car, ready to head home, her friend’s cat was inside, tongue hanging out, looking like he might be dead. Luckily he wasn’t, she was able to get on the phone to a vet friend, was able to wrap him in a towel soaked with cold water, got water dripping into his mouth, and he revived quickly. Lucky is they key word.

The point to that story is that sometimes it isn’t our forgetfulness that can have tragic consequences. For any of you with cars with a sunroof or a moonroof, please keep them closed when your car is unattended, even though it means the interior of your car might be hotter than it otherwise would be. It could mean the difference between life and death for an unsuspecting animal.

There are so many tragic stories, with unhappy endings.

Here is some general information on heatstroke in dogs, including info on dogs in hot cars. You might or might not already know that criminal charges can be brought against people for leaving animals in hot cars. I’m not sure if this is true everywhere or not, but it is good to look up that information for your local area, because if you see an animal in a car on a hot (or even warm) day, please don’t just walk by. Call the police, call the humane society, keep calling someone until you get a response. The police in Arizona actually do take this very seriously (other places too, I’m sure, but I know from experience in Arizona that this is true), so you can count on them (pretty much) for help. Of course in a shopping center, it is also helpful to get the manager of the store(s) to page the owner of the car, but don’t leave it at that, or assume it will be quick enough. If the dog (or baby or whoever) is in distress, break the window. What is a window compared to a life, after all?

Er, so that’s my lecture for the day. Cookies, anyone? Apologies for such a long-winded post!

the wall, dc