I ducked out of work about lunchtime on Monday in order to bring two boxes of books to a used bookstore in Trenton. Well, one and a half boxes, including a bunch of science fiction magazines from the 90s. Used bookstores are erratic about whether they'll take magazines, but I'd called on Saturday to verify that they'd take them. Indeed, their customer base likes them, so, good. And work explicitly says you get an hour lunch and they don't care whether you leave the office or not, so, also good.
All I needed was to park somewhere in downtown Trenton --- in sight of the capitol dome, which kept popping into golden view when I wasn't expecting it, and that is an exciting thing regardless --- which went outstandingly well in that there's no such thing as an empty parking space. I finally and with some frustration gave up and went to the parking deck of a hotel across the street where the first empty space was on the fifth level. There was an elevator, of course, but books are made of condensed neutronium and I had to decide whether to try carrying two 14-inch cubes of books at once or make two trips, or to make staged trips. After the first stage --- car to elevator --- with the boxes separately I tried making the rest of the trip in one go, carrying two boxes and barely able to see past it, and that turned out all right. I didn't get run over or anything.
I also didn't get to see the bookstore owner. He wasn't coming in that day, or any day before Friday. What I could do was leave the boxes, with my contact information, and when the owner got in he'd look over and make an offer for store credit (and he has, and I think it's quite fair). This seemed to leave unanswered what happens to books he doesn't want, although I wasn't going to take this stuff back. I accepted it, left the books off, and went out in search of lunch.
There's a Subway sandwich shop just around the corner from the used book store, but in-between was a Chinese restaurant and I went in there instead. I just wanted something quick, so I could get back to the office, but then I foolishly ordered the egg foo young, which they apparently made from scratch, starting with raising chickens to the point they could lay eggs. When lunch was finally ready I didn't gulp it down --- I was generally annoyed at all the delays to things I wanted to do, starting from parking, at that point --- but I did eat it quicker than I really wanted.
Back at the parking deck I discovered I'd lost the parking ticket.
I thought maybe I left it in the car. No. Filed in my wallet in-between credit cards. No. Tucked into a bookmark. No. It was just gone.
I considered options, including just walking up to the (unattended) entry gate and getting a ticket, but figured I should retrace my steps in case I could find it somewhere. It wasn't on the street, or at the book store, although the Chinese restaurant ... actually, it'd already been taken up to the counter and turned in, as a lost-and-found item. They thought it might be mine.
Heading back, of course, I got lost because while the book store was literally down the road and turn left from the office, that one road turns into a One Way road during a critical stretch, and so did some twisting through the maze of city streets before finding my way back.
In all, this took about two hours, at the end of which nobody seemed to notice that I'd been away particularly long, or even at all. If I weren't a telecommuter at this point putting in rare office appearances this is the sort of thing that'd leave me wondering why I came in at all.
Trivia: A 1625 memoir of life in colonial Jamestown, published by Zbigniew Stefanski of Wroclaw, described the Poles there in 1609 as playing a popular Silesian folk game, palant or pilka palantowa, ``bat ball'', an early bat-and-ball game. Source: Baseball Before We Knew It: A Search For The Roots Of The Game, David Block. (The American Indians were fascinated by it, according to Stefanski.)
Currently Reading: Reporting The Revolutionary War, Todd Andrlik.