This story is from 2007 that I just blogged about on Myspace at the time. I just re-read it and laughed again at the memories so I thought I would share it here. (It's pretty long)
It was a Wednesday night, (the only night I ever get home before 8:30) and it was raining. Earlier in the week I had found a barely used bassinet (for my sister's baby *edited to ad that we also used this for Colin until it started to fall apart*) on craigslist and had arranged to see it on Wednesday night at 7:00ish. My instructions were to call 1 hr before I came. I'm on the subway going home I call 'Mr.E' (I don't know his name) it is probably 6:15, and I get the ring that signals he is on the other line. I prepare to leave a message. Instead he picks up and I hear "hello" and then the line goes dead. I called back and got his voicemail instantly so I knew his phone must have died. No problem I have a home number too, so I call it and I get the non English speaking grandmother who passes me off to '7yr old boy'. I attempt to explain the situation to 7y/o boy but he doesn't understand what craigslist is but agrees to have his dad call me as soon as he gets home saying it should be between 7 and 8. 7y/o boy takes my name and number and we hang up.
Next I call Sean who is expecting a road trip tonight and he agrees to pick me up from the subway (remember its raining). He picks me up wearing gym clothes and therefore does not have his wallet (this is important later). So we take the BQE to Brooklyn, but apparently when its raining the BQE is RIDICULOUSLY slow with traffic. It's now 7:40ish (would have taken 30 mins tops in good weather) so I try the cell phone again, Mr. E is in his car (therefore charging his phone) on his way home but is in the same traffic we are in and tells me to call back in an hour. No problem we'll just find a restaurant near the streets he lives on and get dinner while we wait. Following google's directions we make our way to the cross streets listed (not as easy as it sounds, I think we had to turn around twice due to heavy traffic making it impossible to changes lanes with any urgency and poorly marked road signs). I've got the handy dandy NYC map in my lap and steer us toward the subway line, assuming that where there are commuters there will be restaurants. No dice. We drive aimlessly for about 40 mins trying to find anything that looks like a restaurant in the general area, remember its raining which makes looking out any window but the front impossible. Unbeknownst to us we are either in a Hasidic or Orthodox Jewish neighborhood, not that this is a problem but I find out later that they don't eat out much.
We eventually find "Burger Bar" and figure that's the best we can do. After searching for a parking spot we go in and attempt to figure out 'the system' of ordering and paying and getting food. Most places it's fairly obvious but not here, the flow of traffic is the exact opposite of what you would expect and then you have to weave in and out of other people to find the guy who has been assigned to making your food. We order and mind you there are only about 3 families in the place (I'm the only woman wearing pants and it is noticed by everyone, I'm fine with that) but the 15 boys behind the counter move at a snails pace and are highly inefficient (if you have to walk to the other side of the place to get X why not bring Y too instead of making 2 trips). It is now 8: 30ish so we eat quickly (by the way the French fries, which were more like potato chips, were outstanding) and I call back Mr.E at home, I get 7y/o boy who is very excited and yells to his father "Dad its Becky!". Mr.E seems surprised to hear from me again and says "You're still coming!" I explain where we are and he gives me the cross streets I already have for directions tells me the entrance is on Ave XYZ and the apartment number is F7. Ok, now we have a small problem. I had $55 in my wallet, the bassinet is listed at $35 and dinner came to $21.10. I am now $2 short of being able to pay for the bassinet and Sean remember didn't have his wallet. So we set out to find an ATM on our way to the apartment. Two convenience stores later we I get cash and break a $20 so I'll have the correct change. Ok so we get to the cross streets and there are 4 corners of these street but I don't know which corner his building is on. I narrow it down to two buildings (they are big enough to house more than 4 apartments) and I walk into the entry way of the first. There is a listing of people and numbers to press on a number pad, none of which is apartment numbers so I figure this can't be it or he would have mentioned this number pad issue. I go across the street and this building has apartment number buttons but it only goes up to 6F no 7. So I call again, 7y/o boy answers and again "DAD IT'S BECKY". Mr.E seems confused that I haven't found his apartment yet and tells me "oh well its on the Manhattan side of the street" Now I'm annoyed because Manhattan is not visible from here and I have ZERO familiarity with Brooklyn, just give me the address!! So I say "well I'm standing in front of 4321 Ave XYZ is that your building?"
Mr E: "No I'm across the street"
"How do I buzz your apartment?" Because I've already been in there and there are no apartment numbers. Now it dawns on him that he left out information. Clearly he doesn't have people over very often. He gives me the code and I go in. Sean has now joined me after parking the car and it has thankfully stopped raining. We go into the elevator.. There are 6 floors (remember the apartment was F7 however I had made it 7F in my head), we get out of the elevator and Sean surveys the first floor realizing they are all A#. OK A=1 B=2 C=3 …F=6. Back into the elevator we go and press 6. Mr. E is waiting for us in the hallway and lets us into the entry/hall way. Mom is hiding in a back room, we can see her behind a curtain of sorts and 7y/o boy is now where to be seen. The bassinet looks great and doesn't have any strange odors I give him the money saying "$35 right?" to which he replies "I guess so" (strange response). He offers to take it apart for us and once the cradle is detached from the base I let him know it should fit like that and off we go down the elevator and out to the car. Well I'm sure you can figure out that it didn't fit like that. I go for the swiss army knife that's in the emergency kit to take apart the base and realize I need an allen key! After about 10 mins of struggling and we call again. 7y/o boy is giggling when he tells me his father left to take home non English speaking grandma but should be back in 15 min. ARG!
Two young men appear out of their house so I walk over and casually ask "Do you happen to have an allen Key? They respond like typical city boys "What is an Allen Key?" I explain and Guy#1 who is holding a large cardboard box says I think I have something like that… just let me take care of the squirrel in this box and I'll go check. I say "Oh never mind your problem is bigger than mine" Guy #1: "Nah, happens all the time." (where am I right now?!?)
Mr. E reappears and says he'll go up and get the key and be back down. So Sean starts reading the handy dandy map of NYC to figure out how to get home. Its now 10:00pm. Mr. E comes back and he and I get to work on the bolts that are unnecessarily about 6 inches long and we are unscrewing them with an allen key! Since we are crouched down by the rear passengers tire, Sean does not see Mr. E come back and starts complaining loudly that he can't find Ave XYZ on the map. I try to signal him with my eyes that Mr.E is here but he is totally oblivious. I eventually ask him to come hold the top and he say "What are you taking it apart with… OH HI!" In the 10 mins we are taking out the screws Sean tries to make conversation. It goes something like this
Sean: "Have you lived in Brooklyn long"
Mr. E. (curtly) "Yes, Why?"
Sean: "Just curious"
Mr.E. "Do you live here?"
Sean: "No we just bought a place in Queens"
Sean: "Seems like a nice area here"
Mr. E gives a questioning look.
Sean: "Well it's a nice street at least"
Mr. E: "Yeah I guess."
Ok so we finally get the screws out and pack it all up. Mr. E kindly gives us the allen key (although I really had one at home but I wasn't going to try to say no at this point) and we drive home. We arrive home sometime around 10:45. The end.