No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

I just came home in high dudgeon, misquoting a piece of poetry as I did so.

The poem in question is Robert Graves’ “A Traveller’s Curse After Misdirection.”  I just looked it up, and it turns out I’ve been misquoting it for years, so why stop now?  Here’s my somewhat shortened version:

 “With every step he takes

A bone should break

And be it not for variation’s sake

Now an arm and now a leg

But each and every time his neck.”

And what’s got my goat?

Here’s the back story:  Last year some time a woman here in Seattle sent me a note asking if I’d sign a book for her mother in Sacramento who’s a big fan of mine.  I suggested she order a copy of After the Fire from Brick and Mortar Books in Redmond.

She did so.  Then, when I leaned her mother was coming to visit, I suggested that we meet up at the bookstore and have a cup of coffee while I was doing the signing. So we did.  It was fun.

Later on, I heard from the activities director at an assisted living facility in West Seattle saying that the mother, my fan, had moved into their facility and would I come do an event for them.  We set 1 PM on April 30 as the time and day in question, and I arranged for Paper Boat Books in West Seattle to provide books for sale.

West Seattle is probably less than twenty miles away from where I live in Bellevue, but going there means crossing Lake Washington and negotiating three separate freeways.  But I turned on my phone, asked Siri to provide directions, and off I went.

When I arrived at the address, I was dismayed to find it was all on-street parking.  In Bellevue we have parking garages and parking lots.  Parallel parking is a trick I haven’t done in years, but I finally made it work—three blocks away from where I was supposedly supposed to be.

After picking up some quick steps along the way, I arrived at the facility only to be greeted by someone who had no idea who I was or why I would be there.  “Oh,” she said.  “You’re supposed to be at our other facility.”

It was ten to one by then.  It took two people forever to figure out the address of the other facility.  And off I went again, walking three blocks and then driving.  In the process of putting the address into my phone, they somehow had managed to turn off Siri’s voice.  The best I could do was turn whenever my Apple Watch said turn.

Eventually, and after another ordeal by parallel parking, I arrived at the second location only to be told by the receptionist that  I wasn’t scheduled for that one either.  “Who’s your contact person?” she asked.

So I looked up the applicable correspondence.  It turns there were two separate activities directors who had sent emails about the event, both of whom no longer work there.

The bad news is that if my fan still lives there, I missed her.   The good news is I got a lot of steps and practiced my parallel parking in the process of not seeing her.

I’m back home, frustrated, and more than a little annoyed, but I’ll get over it.  Eventually.