I'm not proud of my behavior in Union Station last week. I'm really not. I'm also not proud of yelling at a stranger named Sergio in an unknown location, whose sole purpose in his job is likely to handle being yelled at by people like me.
I'm also not proud of the fact that I'm listening to Air Supply on purpose right now, but the flip side of that is that I'm not ashamed, so whatever.
YOU WANT TO CARRY ONNNNNNNNN.
(Me, in Union Station, in happier, shinier times.)
I took this crazy trip last week, from DC to New York to, er, Oxon Hill, Maryland, which is now herewith rechristened as "National Harbor", a fancy schmancy East Coast mini-Vegas of a place minus casinos and Elton John and coke and it's-totally-the-heat-not-the-humidity. So I'm wrong, it's minus almost all of the things that make Vegas Vegas, and I'm also pretty sure Nic Cage isn't going to be bottoming out in a hotel room there. But things are really big.
My argument is failing here.
Anyway, before I got back to National Harbor (good LORD people, this place is Oxon Hill. You know this, right? OXON HILL.) I was in New York, i.e., my favorite city in the whole wide world. I left Union Station because taking the train is one of my favorite things to do in life. And while I waited for my train, I decided to call my credit card company and confirm that my travel card was clear, as it certainly ought to have been, given that I returned the obscenely expensive camera lens rental six days before.
I checked the website first, sitting amid a raucous group of Japanese tourists, all of us circled by a transit cop with a bomb-sniffing dog who really liked my bag, because hello there is always some errant piece of fruit or a whoopie pie or some shit in my bag that smells like drugs or a homemade bomb? The website said, "Fuck you, you still have that camera lens, as far as we're concerned," because of course it did.
So I called Capital One, using the arduous iPhone keypad that I only use to enter bank and credit card pin numbers and to occasionally call a person I am required by law to call.
"Hello, this is Capital One. This is Sergio. I am happy to help you today."
"Hey Sergio. How are you?" (I am nice to these people. I am not an asshole. I swear to THE GOD WHO SMITES ME DAILY.)
"I am doing well, hello, Mrs....White? How are you today?"
"I'm good, and it's not Mrs. And Laurie is good. Birthdate 12.27.70, pin number CAPITAL ONE SCREWS ME DAILY AND I LOVE IT SO HARD.
(That is a joke. I did not say that.)
Then he asked me how he could help me, and basically I was like, look, Sergio, I need this pre-authorization code removed. I didn't buy anything, I took the shit back, it's gone from my life for half a pay period now. I didn't break it or lose it. I hate my pictures, I need to be able to buy wine and maybe a room in New York on this card because this is my TRAVEL NEW YORK CARD SO FUCKING FIX IT.
"I am very sorry for your concerns, Mrs. White. I will see what I can do to alleviate your consternation."
(Sergio is talking to my mom. Ignored. Bygones. Also they give these poor souls thesaurus.com with their training manuals, right?)
"Look, Sergio, can you just clear my card? Because I have a train in 20 minutes and need an Egg McMuffin like Lindsay needs a bump, so really."
I almost said this. Not super proud. GIRL YOU'RE EVERY WOMAN IN THE WORLD TO ME. (Related, that sounds like a lot of really hard fucking work. Multitasking.)
I hear bleedeeebleepbleeps in the background that indicate that Sergio is scaring up some information about my relatively paltry financial situation. I really do just need this card to work. I had plans for this card. Dreams.
"Hello. I see the concern."
(OMG THERE IS NO CONCERN.)
"I see the concern, and if the camera company will please to call us soon we will remove it."
The Japanese people started laughing more loudly, like the rotating clowns in Pee Wee's Big Adventure.
The dog sniffed everything six times.
"Sergio. Honestly. The camera store is not going to call you."
As I said this, I imagined the endless stream of iPhone calls I would have to make to work this out. Jack or Steve or Bill, lounging on the counter, completely disinterested in arresting his discussion of prime lenses and chicks who can't take pictures to make a phone call via many menus to Sergio in God knows where.
I was never going to get my money back. I was not going to have my New York story financially told. And this made me mean.
"That is unacceptable, Sergio. Unacceptable. I need you all to be able to call the camera store, if that is what you need to do, after THEY TOLD ME THAT THE HOLD ON MY CARD WOULD JUST NATURALLY FALL OFF LIKE THE LEAVES OF ADAM AND EVE AFTER A MAX OF 72 HOURS WTF SERGIO?"
He was contrite, yet unflappable.
"This is a surprising development, I know. Please allow me to investigate further."
And he was gone. For five minutes. And when he returned, he was saying stuff about tomorrow morning and telephone calls and the Dalai Lama and credit cards and whatnot. So, fully committing to hating myself for a refractory period of several hours, I said,
"Hey Sergio? You got a supervisor."
"Why yes. Yes I do. I will retrieve Melissa."
Sergio, Small Wonder, same difference. Melissa was on the line in a minute or two. I've worked with Melissa. Melissa went to my high school. Melissa was going to dispose of me in .5 minutes, and she had no idea my student council poster housed hers, hard.
"Hello, Ms...White? Yes. White. So you're traveling to New York?"
"Yes. And I need you all to clear my card so I can move on with my life."
"So you're going to have (redacted) call us to take care of this little charge?"
"No. I'm not, Melissa. (Because I have read the findings of repeating names and mirroring, yes I have. Also I watched The Office for years.) I'm standing in a line for a train to New York, a situation that normally takes all of my Oregon Trail survival skills, clutching an Egg McMuffin, an unconscionably hot-regardless-of-burning-lawsuit McDonalds coffee AND MY PHONE. I need you all to get in touch with the camera store, if that is what you need to do, and settle this."
"And you can give us the number of the store?"
"No. No I cannot. Do you have a computer in front of you, Melissa? Because, Google."
And I spelled it for her when she responded like this: agveargvaer;nhagraga;agvnbaga??????? And oh my God. I felt myself transforming into a Sleestak by the minute, but the rage, the RAGE. MELISSA! Seriously?
And then I lost the call, because of course I did. And then the Northeastern line started moving, which, if you've never been in it? Is intense. It evokes a primal need to move and be first and elbow people that is not frequently seen outside of exercise class space placement and the lawn seats at the Indigo Girls. It is a horror show.
As Melissa's stupid ass call dropped, the lady with the embroidered bag in front of me, who hasn't traveled since the Reagan administration, tried to Battle of the Network Stars elbow check me, and I wasn't having it. As I tried to aggressively reestablish my place in line, my phone rang.
Ringing phones: worse sounds on earth besides IT'S LATE NIGHT WITH JAY LENO, hands down.
"Hi, Mrs....White? It's Melissa. I was able to contact (insert popular 90s name here) at (redacted) and he said all was well, that that equipment was returned unharmed several days ago. Capital One is happy to return the full functioning of your card to you, and we hope you have a fabulous time in New York City!"
"Well. Okay. Thanks. Great."
And I will leave it there. I will not tell you about slowly going insaner over the next 36 hours, as this company tracked my every move, shutting down both of my credit cards no matter where I went within an EXTENSIVE 500 MILE RADIUS. I won't detail talking to some guy whose complicated name I forget from a bar in New York, when they decided to "confirm" that my destination that I had told them about three hours before was accurate. I will spare you the details of my conversation with Brian, the next day, (I had learned by then to just ask for the supervisor immediately, because, well, the comedy.) who declined my card until I called to tell him I was back in Maryland, just to alleviate any more "concerns" that a thief was purchasing my one beer and rainbow roll at a dinner with colleagues, in my home state.
It was like someone who hated me had called this place and told them I was a rogue person charging exorbitant amounts of, oh, say, $32.67 at a time. I was not to be trusted. This operation was to be shut down, before it tried to pay for another ten-dollar cab ride.
Because I know this is my fault. I know this is our fault. This credit situation. This need for confirmations and codes and deposits, when really we'd be likely better served by stacks of dollar bills in mattresses, or trading beans for Etsy shit.
No, I won't. I'll just say this: Sergio holds it down. You want Sergio on your team. Hell, I want him on mine. He held the flare gun throughout my two days of Stockholm Syndrome with Capital One, and he made it feel like sugar going down.
I really wish I could friend him on Facebook. I'm pretty sure he would help me move.