One thing you might not know about me is that, although I prefer to be nice, I can be a big ol’ bitch when I have to be. This weekend, for example, I nearly assaulted the manager of a U-Haul office in Chelsea.
Let me explain. My Dad and my pal Isaac had graciously agreed to drive my remaining stuff from Boston to my new apartment in New York. Miraculously, we even got a parking space right outside my building. My sister had come down on the train. For about twenty minutes, my Dad, my sister and I pretended to help while Isaac ran enormous loads of boxes and 400-pound shelving units up the stairs on his back. (This is the sort of gesture that you really can’t repay, by the way. And I tried. I’m pretty much going to have to agree to be a surrogate Mom for his and his wife’s child, should they decide that they don’t want the bother of pregnancy.)
“It’s OK!” He said. “Last week, I was mixing cement! This is nothing!” OK, buddy, if you say so. Take my advice, friends: Get yourselves a pal in construction.
After we unloaded the stuff, we decided that Isaac and I would take the truck back, while my Dad and Mrs. Piddlington played a game of three-dimensional Tetris with my boxes and furniture in my tiny new apartment.
I was all prepared. I had my little NFT book of maps, I had funny stories to entertain Isaac on the way over, should traffic make him nervous. I even had some water. What I did not have was any more patience to spare, when we arrived at the storage place, only to be told that we couldn’t leave the truck there.
“You can’t leave that here! We’re full!” The woman said. She was standing in the driveway, next to the truck, hands on hips, shaking her head as if to shake our protests out of her ears like water.
“But I have a contract right here…” I said.
“I don’t care about that. That’s not my problem. You have to call the 800 number.”
And she went inside.
We called the number. No one picked up. I looked at Isaac. Isaac looked at me.
“Are you ready to drop the keys and run?” He said.
“I would be, but this is on my Dad’s credit card.”
He nodded and got out of the truck. We made our way inside to the office, where the manager was still shaking her head like a labrador retriever and saying, “No! No! You can’t leave that here! You have to go! Go somewhere else!”
“Look, I sympathize with your position. But the office isn’t picking up. Can’t you just call on your end and see what you can do?”
“No! It’s not our problem. You have to leave. I’ll call the cops.”
“Jesus. Call the cops. Call the cops and tell them that I’m abusing you by holding you to the terms of the contract your company signed with me. See? It says right here: I have to pick up the truck at any location you say, but I get to leave it where you tell me. Also, it’s 8:00. U-Haul closes at 9. I am not bringing this truck back down to the Lower East Side and leaving it on the street. It’ll have been turned into a nightclub by the morning.”
“I don’t care. You can’t leave it here. You have to get out.”
“OK, is there any reason why you’re being such a pain in the ass about this? I’m trying to work with you. Your problem is with your management, not me.”
“Don’t you call me a pain in the ass, you bitch!”
“Don’t you call me a bitch, bitch!”
“I’m not a bitch, but you’re a big bitch!”
I leaned over the counter and looked her in the eye. “I am not a big bitch. I am actually a rather small bitch. But you’re a big … fat … bitch … and you’re also ugly.”
She started shaking her head again. “How dare you. How dare you. You’re an ugly person. How can you look in the mirror.”
“I love looking in the mirror! I do it all the time. ALL DAY LONG. But I bet you don’t like it, you big fat ugly bitch.”
And so on. Eventually, Isaac figured out that we could get all the trucks in if we moved them around, and used his skills to charm the manager lady, who had stormed off to sharpen her knives. He reported back to me what she’d said:
“I’ll do it for you, cuz you’re a nice person! I don’t like your wife, though. She’s a bitch.”
“She’s not my wife, actually, she’s just a friend. I’m just helping her move. I would not have handled it that way, and I sincerely apologize on her behalf.”
Eventually, she let us leave the truck there and closed out the account. See what I mean about how I’m going to have to have Isaac and Cathy’s baby?
When we were leaving, Isaac calmed my nerves and told me that it was all pretty funny, in a humiliating sort of way, and not to worry, that it was over, etc. I was shaking pretty bad, the way I do after I’ve let my temper get the better of me. I hate getting mad worse than anything.
“The funny thing is that Cathy would have done the same thing,” he said.