Thursday, May 27

[There's magic in the metal, there's magic in us all]
Tuesday rocked. Work was awesome. I copy edited all night, using a pretty cool system that lets copy editors write headlines, cutlines, jumpheads, jumplines, etc., without even having layout pages open. It's all configured by the computer and this little applet window lets you write headlines to fit, telling you to the specific point how much extra space you have. Sweet. It was awesome to get a damp, warm copy of Wednesday's paper Tuesday night and open it up to find stories I had edited and written headlines for. I guess my biggest accomplishment was writing the hed for the main Business front story.

But then I had a karmic meltdown yesterday. I've been checking my credit card summary online recently, and noticing that -- although I haven't spent my full credit line -- it's showing that I'm over my limit. So I woke up early and called Discover to see what was up. They told me that several places at which I have bought gas and paid at the pump have placed administrative holding fees on my card as a precaution against fraud ... or something. But the kicker was that the Co-Op Fuel Mart in Parsons, where I always get gas when in route from Saltillo to M'boro, had placed a $350 holding fee on my card for my measly $20 in gas. The Discover lady said these charges normally fall away automatically once the actual charge posts, but I should call Co-Op (which she called "coop") and see what was up. So I tracked down Co-Op's credit transaction lady and asked her what was up. She said it was Co-Op's policy to do that, but that those charges should have fallen away already. She offered to mail me the official transaction receipt in case Discover doubted me, but she said she could do no more. So, according to Discover, I can't use my card until these charges fall away on their own, which they were supposed to do almost a week ago. And if the 13th of June rolls around and they're still on there, I'll get charged for the overage. Even though they're not even actual charges.

Fresh off the phone, I thought I would go to the tanning bed and just relax and bask in the glow of cancer-causing fluorescence. I was scheduled to go into work at noon, so I figured at 10 a.m. I could tan and get back in time to shower and get ready. The salon's owner wasn't there to open up yet (even though they open at 10), so I sat in my car for a few minutes, listening to the radio, waiting. About 15 minutes passed, so I decided that I would just leave, lest I risk being late for work. I go to start my car and all it can muster is a sickly, singular click. Long story short, I got UAB's security people to come jump me off, so I drove back to the apartment, turned the car off and restarted it to make sure all was kosher. It restarted. I triumphantly showered and vowed to get a new battery ASAP.

But when I went to start it at 11:30, it clicked feebly. I freaked. It's not cool to be late on your third day of work. So I went inside the apartment office and got help tracking down a bus schedule. They weren't running near the apartment until after noon, so I called a cab and made it to work with a minute to spare.

I called tons of car places on my breaks, and realized that everyone would be closed by the time I got off. I settled on taking a cab back home, getting jumped off the next morning, and then going to get a new battery.

Everyone at the paper sympathized with me and offered me a ride, or a jump, or advice on where to get batteries. When I got off at 8, one of my bosses, Stan, drove me home and we pushed my car out of its parking space so he could jump it off. It worked, and I decided to drive around for a while to let it recharge. Lo and behold, while cruising along random streets, I came upon a 24-hour AutoZone. And I got a new battery. And now my car works. Or, at least I hope it does. I haven't tested it today.

It was an insane day. But I ended it by getting a grilled chicken philly pita wrap from a 24-hour deli nearby (I had neglected to eat all day), and Naked, a gift from Amber, in the mail. Even though the day sucked, I can honestly say that it showed me that people around me -- even some people I don't even know very well -- actually care about me. Even the tanning salon lady offered to give me a ride to work.


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