When I said I wanted to meet people in New York, this is not quite what I had in mind.
This morning, I planned to drop my rent check off in my building’s management office. The last time I was in the office was when I signed my lease in early May, but I have a pretty good memory (NOTE: in retrospect, I doubt this statement) and was certain that the office was located on the 24th floor in apartment D. So certain that I did not even consider the possibility that I might be mistaken. In fact, if you had asked me to bet my life on the office being in 24-D, I would have done it. So, I came back from my run, stepped onto the elevator and pushed “24” with the kind of confidence that one feels when she is so sure she is right about something that she is almost guaranteed to be heading towards a stupid and easily avoidable misstep.
Upon arriving at floor 24, I walked to apartment D, opened the door and entered. “No knock?” you might ask. “Why, no!” I would have answered. “There’s no need to knock if you know where you are going!”
What followed was one of the most uncomfortable and confusing single minutes of my life.
It took my brain about 10 seconds to process that the room I had entered did not match my memory of the management office and another 10 seconds to realize that I was standing in a living room. (I’d like to blame exhaustion and dehydration from running in the heat, but it was 65 degrees and cloudy when I went out.)
Another 5 seconds to realize I had just walked into a stranger’s apartment.
5 more seconds for the resident of said apartment to walk out of the kitchen and see me standing there, in my sweaty clothes, looking disoriented, with Ed Sheeran seeping softly from my earbuds.
5 seconds for her to process that there was a stranger in her apartment.
5 seconds for her to ask me who I was.
5 seconds of stunned silence on my part where I stood there, mouth open, eyes moving between her and the rent check in my hand, as if that would clarify everything.
15 seconds of explanation and profuse apologies. I thought about asking her why she didn’t lock her door to prevent things like this from happening, but then it occurred to me that she could probably count the number of times this had happened on one finger. Maybe now she’ll be more careful.
After a few laughs, a few more “I’m so sorry’s!” and a silent thanks that she had merely been making coffee, I made my way to the correct location and deposited my checks. I then proceeded to walk around the block and cringe about 6000 times.
Fortunately, embarrassment rolls off me like water on a duck’s back, but I do have one regret: that was probably the only time where an exaggerated cat burglar backwards tiptoe out of the room would have not only been justified but also appropriate. A major missed opportunity.