Continued from My Wandering Mind and Asperger’s
“Well hi there! What can I get for you today?” she asked.
“Meltdowns.” I replied. I noticed a strange quality to my voice. It was different. Mechanical. And just as she was a contrast to the room, I was a contrast to her. Why?
She returned to her desk and without sitting down, she moved her chair aside, leaned over the keyboard and began to type. After a few strokes she straightened up and waited. She looked at me and said, “It will be just a moment. You know how slow the system can be.” As she was saying this her attention returned to the computer screen.
“Meltdowns, 1993-2004?” she asked, seeking my confirmation that she indeed had the right information. “Yes,” I replied. “I’ll be right back.” she responded. She looked straight ahead at the seemingly endless rows of filing cabinets. She then bounced around the left side of her desk and I watched as she disappeared down an aisle.
As soon as she was out of sight I realized there was music playing. I hadn’t heard it before. Funny the things you don’t notice. All of my attention had been focused on her.
At first I didn’t recognize the song, only that it was danceable. Foxtrot. No, wait. I did know it. It was “It Had to be You.” Frank Sinatra. Frank Sinatra was signing “It Had to be You” in the middle of a dark, submarine-like file storage room watched over by a lively woman who apparently spent her day alone, sitting behind an old metal desk. And I had been here before, yet had no memory of it.
Within a minute she emerged from the file cabinets, came around her desk, returned to the counter and said with a silly-me giggle, “I went the wrong way. ‘Meltdowns’ is stored in what I call the Dead Letter Office. You know, where the files are stored that we haven’t gotten into for a long time, the forgotten files. I’ll be right back.” She almost sang as she spoke. She then turned the opposite direction of the file cabinet rows and this time I watched her open a door and once again disappear.
What was happening? Why was this so familiar and yet why did I have no recollection of where I was? Was I dreaming?
As I was thinking this she returned holding a thick file covered in a layer of dust. “It was just where the computer’s data base said it was. If only I had paid attention the first time.” She spoke but admittedly my attention was no longer on her, it was on the file. It was so full of papers, some were almost falling out. The edges were yellowed and torn from age. From its unorganized state I could tell there was a time when this file was retrieved and opened regularly. The accumulated dust told me that was a long time ago.
Coming Thursday: The Meltdowns file is found.