Drifting in and out of consciousness (oxfordhacker) wrote,
Drifting in and out of consciousness

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A slip-up

I was late for work by more than a couple of minutes for the first time today. I left the house on time, but even when I had broken the ice off my bike's wheels it still refused to be pedaled for more than about a metre without throwing its chain. Still, in my view bike maintenance is like American foreign policy: all about the oil. Sure enough, after half-an-hour, a tooth chain-brush, and half a tin of WD40... my bike still wasn't working. I trudged back inside to thaw out, and call work. After toying briefly with claiming I'd fallen off my bike and needed a day off, I opted for the honest, if vague "I'll be in, but don't know when." It's amazing how much less tempting sick days seem when you're a temp, and know exactly how much each hour you're spending lounging around in your pants listening to music and playing computer games is costing you... On the other hand I had no idea how to get to work without my bike, barring at least an hour's trudge over icy pavements. I'm vaguely aware that there's a bus, but know no more than that. Indeed, my first and only attempt to get to work by bus was... somewhat disastrous.

I don't have a great deal of luck getting to job interviews. By which I mean, of course, that I'm a disorganised slacker whose idea of good planning is leaving the house just in time to get to the interview just in time, assuming nothing goes wrong. My previous worst interview gaff was oversleeping and, after some quick thought, dabbing mud on the knees and elbows of my suit and turning up half-an-hour late claiming I'd been knocked off my bike by a van on the way to the interview. I managed a convincing tremor and slight limp, and got concern, a cup of hot, sweet tea and, indeed, the job. Unfortunately it was a poorly-paid job in a boring department of a bookshop, which I subsequently lost after a few months for demonstrating 'insufficient motivation and commitment' (I turned up! What more did they expect for that money?) Anyway, I'm not sure that my interview for this job beats that for cheek, but it certainly trumps it in the disorganised stakes.

In short: wake up, get up in plenty of time, get dressed up in suit, realise that my smart shoes are in a house on the other side of town. Consider my boots. Big, black, battered. Spend a couple of minutes with polish. Now they're big, black, shiny and battered. Thinking quickly, pop round the corner to Oxfam and, hail Eris, find a pair that more-or-less fit for 3 quid. Thus kitted out, jump on the bus, running only a little late. Half a mile away from my destination, the bus is stuck in traffic. And thick black smoke. From the burning van in the carpark beside the road. I decide that I'm going to have to walk it. Ten minutes of semi-jogging later, and the shoes are revealing that they're rather tighter than I had anticipated, or perhaps that I'd forgotten to take the rusty knives out before I put them on. Still, I arrive at the building, just about on time. More specifically, I arrive at the wrong building. Ask the nice receptionist where the correct building is. She offers to call me a cab. I swear (but in my head, for I am a gentleman), and decide that walking will probably be faster. So I call the agency that got me the interview, explain that I'm running late, ask them to contact the company and let them know, and stride off up the road armed with a map printed for me by the nice receptionist which shows my destination uncluttered by such things as road names or scale. Half an hour and a couple of stops for directions later, I hobble across the vast concrete carpark in which this building is charmingly situated, mentally putting the final touches to my heroic tale of obstacles vaulted and odds overcome. Thank goodness for the fire, as I need employ minimal actual lying to make it the focus of my lateness. And, of course, I got the job. And took those fucking shoes back to Oxfam the very same day.

Choose your own moral:
EitherPlanning is important.
orChutzpah (or possibly moxie. One of those Jewish things, anyway.) is more important than planning.

Of course, as soon as I made the call my bike started behaving and I was able to get into work with no further drama. In fact, I found that the weather has made me much more law-abiding. Normally when confronted with a line of traffic at the lights and an open pavement, I find it hard to resist becoming a temporary pedestrian and breezing past both jam and lights. However, when the pavement is akin to a lumpy ice-rink, while the road is merely slushy and furthermore contains fewer cars more carefully driven than normal, I'm on the side of the law.

Anyway, I made it in, though it took twenty minutes of people giving me unnerved looks before a colleague pointed out that taking off my cycle helmet whilst wearing my greasy gloves had left me looking like I'd been attacked by a maniacal mechanic. I've got toothbrush and oil in my backpack, but it remains to be seen whether I'll be able to get home, to say nothing of my planned foray out into the night to mr_snips's flat to feed pathetic mouse-corpses to apathetic snakes on archie's behalf...

Current site: Daily Dinosaur Comics! Recommended by Lore (of the sadly defunct Brunching Shuttlecocks and other less defunct web comedy projects), featuring dinosaurs, and the fourth episode is about lesbians! It's hard to imagine how this could possibly be improved.
(Don't miss the extra content in the 'alt' tags for each strip...)
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