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Freeze!

19 May 2009

True or false: I have “Don’t Stop Believin” from GLEE on repeat on my iTunes right now.
Oh you already know the answer!!
(omg this show. thanks, fox, for another TV addiction. love love love love love it. Heartwarm-y, cheesy-but-believable plotline, musical theatre high school kids, nerdy romance, quirky humor. booya.)

Rockin out while i blog. Post-American-Idol glow. Beautiful spring night. Does life get better?

Had to go get fingerprinted today for my new job. (Apparently it’s a big deal to have access to private financial information. Tomorrow I get trained on how to properly handle mail.) I’ve never had to do a background check this extensive before. Was kind of excited about it.

(Oh you know me. Yes. Actually excited about getting fingerprinted.)

Walking into the police station, I was thinking about what I would title a blog entry about the police station. (Metablogging. Check it.) And I came up with “Freeze!” and then laughed, because in my mind, the word conjures first the improv game, not the you’re-getting-arrested interjection.

Walk up to the main window, and say I’m there for my fingerprinting appointment. The police lady behind the counter says “They’re not in today…just kidding.”
What? The police lady’s doing schtick?!
“Oh, they’re back there. You wanna come out and do your job??” she shouts behind her desk. She tells me to have a seat, and I’m stunned.

I turn to the only other guy in the waiting area, and say, “the police department’s not supposed to be funny…”
“With all they have to deal with, they have to be,” he replies.
Touche.

I notice while I’m waiting that the variety of clientele and requests is staggering. Just in the span of five minutes, we have an aging landlord with complaints of rowdy tenants, a young guy disputing a speeding ticket who forgot to bring his driver’s license, and me: a fingerprinting customer who’s maybe a little too excited and curious about the whole process.
It seems they deal with a little bit of everything here. People who are at the end of their rope, others who have no time to spare; occasional life-or-death decisions, but often a mundane routine.
Kind of reminded me of being an RA. We were accused, by some, of being Dorm Police.

So my name gets called, and I walk into a tiny room where two motherly government worker ladies are waiting for me. The black ink is rolled on a piece of glass, which sort of reminded me of marble slab (mmm…ice cream…), and my fingers were rolled onto three fingerprinting cards.

The lady assisting me (aka holding my hands during the surprisingly intimate procedure) asks if I’ve ever been fingerprinted before. “Nope. First time.” I tell her, and she says I should mark my calendar. I’ll want to remember this next year.
(Zing! Police be funny, y’all!)
When I say this whole business is intimate, I mean it’s impossible to avoid being close to a total stranger as she rolls each of your fingers in ink and then presses them to a piece of paper. Three times. For each finger. And then each hand, “fingers together. like you’re saluting.”
I imagine what this must be like when someone gets arrested. It can’t be fun. Imagine the panic and fear in that moment of being caught (guilty or no), and having to pause for this tedious process.

…Yeah, all this from a potentially boring errand. I love when I get back in writer-mode, and all the world presents for me a little case study. If I’m willing to pay attention.

Remind again of Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird, and a section in which she talks about the process of her students turning into writers:

It is work and play together. When they are working on their books or stories, their heads will spin with ideas and invention. They’ll see the world through new eyes. Everything they see and hear will become grist for the mill. At cocktail parties or in line at the post office, they will be gleaning small moments and overheard expressions: they’ll sneak away to scribble these things down.

Some of my favorite writing to read is when an author submerges him/herself in some activity (either mundane or outrageous) and takes us along for the ride. Giving us a glimpse of life as we haven’t quite seen it before. I get a little teary-eyed over it, honestly. When I think about how much I love the feeling of doing just that myself.

Don’t Stop Believin.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Amanda permalink
    20 May 2009 9:46 am

    1. Loved this post because, obviously, I have had to do just that errand before! And I, too, was a bit curious about it, but unlike you, I did not come away from it with an entire blog post. :) That is why you are the writer and I am not.

    2. Your last paragraph – that is some of my favorite writing to read too! I have so many books like that on my list to read, such as the person who sailed down the Nile by his/herself, the person who decided to cook every single recipe in Julia Child’s cookbook (also coming to theaters near you this summer!), etc.

  2. 20 May 2009 1:53 pm

    I have heard good things about this GLEE. It seems suspiciously close to a HSM type of catastrophe. I’m skeptical.

  3. John permalink
    26 May 2009 3:40 pm

    I just hope I don’t find out some nasty little secret about your background. If I do, I’ll give you a choice:
    A. Don’t fire you but share the NLS with everyone.
    B. Fire you and keep your NLS.

    Life if full of tough choices.

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