My husband says I’m overly dramatic and that I exaggerate the simplest things; maybe so, but I chalk that up to the crazy way my brain works. “That’s the writer in me, J,” I always say as he rolls his eyes and retreats to the next room. I strongly believe there is a script, scene, novel, short story, poem in almost every experience of life—be that something someone says or does or simply the way they look. Idiosyncrasies and drama are the spice of life.
For example, I had an interview once at an early learning center. In order to complete the process, I had to undergo a urine test along with supply my fingerprints to the local police department. My mind started dishing out scenarios the minute I opened the door. After leaving, I wrote my thoughts down in a small notebook.
Getting Fingerprinted at Police Station (random thoughts):
As soon as I open the door, rookie cop’s hand goes to his holster and he takes his stance.
“Can I help you?”
“I’m here to be fingerprinted,” I say. “Mrs. Richards, from the HS Center, sent me.” What if I was in here for real, being booked—Mrs. S, you’re under arrest for strangulation and arson. (That’s what would happen after 10 more years of stress and no therapy)
Cops never smile. Is that the first thing they teach them—to stand like cowboys and look mean? What is that smell? It smells like old pee, or an attic with no windows. Is that some metal detecting device? It didn’t go off when I stepped through it. Rookie cop is saying “wait here” as he gestures for his partner. My eyes are still scanning the place; I can’t believe they eat in the same area they book and fingerprint people. I promise you, I see a first edition microwave. It is sad, really–seems like the community could give funds, and buy them a new millenium microwave.
“Just relax your fingers. I’m going to dip them into this dye and then press them onto this paper. Just roll the fingers with me,” rookie says. He’s rolling fresh ink over the old ink. I can still see someone’s imprints. How many dirty fingers have been on this thing? Crack-heads, prostitutes, serial killers—all arrested and fingerprinted with this same plate? The thought makes me cringe; I want to wash and sanitize my hands two or three times.
The walls have adopted a brownish color from years of dirt and rust. The bathroom, even though there is a mop bucket inside, smells as if urine missed the commode, landed in a puddle on the floor, and dried. It’s a shame; I’ll do what I have to do—bake sale or whatever, even if it means rallying the help of a retail store, to offer a better, modernized police department. And I hope I never have to see the place again.
FYI: The city did eventually get a new building. (Yay) And, so far, I haven’t had to see it.