Oh, dear. I'm afraid my whole LIFE is just one long story no one would believe if I wrote it down.
Here's one example. One of the many crummy places I lived during college was a trailer with ... shall we say ... design flaws. Someone had attempted to remodel the place, and had stopped in the middle. There was no end to the bathtub -- you could see right down into the underpinning. Which was fine, since there was no running water. The phone jack only worked half the time, and the lights occasionally flickered.
The night before I started student teaching, I was understandably nervous. We didn't have a car and we lived a mile and a half off the bus route. I had to work until 6 the night before, so it was pretty late by the time my partner and I rode the bus to our stop and walked through the January darkness to our trailer.
We flipped on the lights. Well, that's not entirely accurate. We flipped the light SWITCH, but nothing happened. As we were fairly poor and hadn't been entirely consistent with the bills, we thought maybe the power had gotten shut off. A quick call to the power company from a neighbor's phone told us otherwise. Our account was up to date; the electricity simply wasn't working. We managed to feel our way through the trailer, tripping over the alarmed cats, to get to the breaker box, but nothing we tried would restore the power. Later we would learn that the wiring had failed entirely and would have to be completely redone.
Exhausted, we walked back out the mile and a half to the bus stop and waited 25 minutes for the next bus. We rode it to Wal-Mart to find my ex, who had agreed to meet us there. Filthy, tired, and nervous about the big day ahead, I paced around the Wal-Mart entrance by the drink machines, watching for my ex's car and ranting and raving to my partner.
My partner was very supportive. She stood with me, held my hand, and patted my hair, trying to calm me. Until a woman approached us and said, "Hey, I've got no problem with ... you people ... but would you mind not being affectionate in front of my daughter? I just don't want to explain it to her." I glanced past the woman, and, sure enough, her daughter, all of ten, was glaring at us with her arms crossed and her face red. Too exhausted to know what to do, we stepped apart and stood like stone, waiting for our ride.
Eventually, my ex arrived. She took us to her house, where I could shower and hang up my clothes for the next day. I emerged from the shower to learn that her dog had knocked my clothes off the hanger and walked all over them with his muddy feet. She didn't have a washer or dryer.
With a groan, we called my partner's sister, who was less than supportive of us. She agreed to let us stay over at her dorm if we could get a ride there. My ex drove us there and we did laundry in the dorm laundry room. Of course the dryer didn't work and I had to hang up my clothes to dry, hoping they would manage it in the scant four hours till I had to be getting dressed.
My partner's sister (who has since grown up a lot and whom I adore) spent much of the night explaining to my partner why our relationship was a sin and why she should move back into the dorms and leave me. Eventually, I managed to fall asleep, wedged onto half of the top bunk, using my partner's sweatshirt as a blanket.
Three and a half hours later, I slithered back down off the top bunk and squeezed in a quick shower. Dressed in my damp but more-or-less clean and unwrinkled outfit, I slipped outside to catch the bus. I was sleepy, undercaffeinated, and extremely upset from all the mishaps leading up to this all-important first day of student teaching.
Once I was at school, I managed to relax and settle into the day, forgetting all the woes of the night before -- until I noticed one pinched red face, all of ten, glaring at me in the cafeteria.
"I saw you," the child said in this voice that spoke volumes to what her mother must have told her. "I saw you at Wal-Mart last night."
I smiled wearily. "I saw you, too, dear. Did you buy anything nice?"
She walked away without answering and I sank onto the bench, completely done in.