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Late for work

03/19/2013 @ 4:40pm

I was almost late for work the other day.

That’s a new experience for me.  I’m fifty-eight years old and this is the first real job I’ve had since I was twenty.

Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t spent the last four decades goofing off, but the hogs and the corn didn’t care if I got up at 5:30 or 6:30.  And as for being a writer…most people I know don’t think I have a job at all.  But this week I opened a restaurant in my hometown.  Just for breakfasts and just from 6:00 a.m. to 10 a.m.

The reason I’m opening the restaurant is a very long story…suffice it to say that the name might end up being “The Inadvertent Café.”

The important part of this story is that I said I’d flip the sign from “Closed” to “Open” at 6:00 a.m., six days a week.

Here’s the thing.  I don’t use an alarm clock.  I’ve never really needed to, unless I was leaving to catch a plane at 4:00 a.m. or something else equally important. It’s partially because I almost always wake up early, but another reason is that it didn’t really make a difference what time I woke up.

The first scheduled morning, I opened my eyes at 5:20, just as planned, and I had time for my first cup of coffee before 6:00.

The second day, I rolled over and saw that the clock read 5:44.  I have a ten-minute drive to town and I unlocked the front door of the café at 5:59, panting from the hurry.  I may still have been buttoning my shirt.

The third day, I woke up at 3:30.  My brain evidently didn’t want me to be late, which is fine, but 3:30 is a little early.  I can remember a time in my life when I went to bed at 3:30, but those times are long, long past.  I’ve never gotten up at 3:30, at least not on purpose.  I was definitely on time, although it did turn into kind of a long day.

Here’s the thing.  I’m apparently not a very good boss.  I’m the only one who really cares if I open exactly at 6:00.  Since I haven’t done any advertising (just flipped the sign from CLOSED to OPEN), I’m not exactly overwhelmed with customers, and since it’s 6:00 a.m., the ones who do show up barely care if I put food in front of them.  The stakes could hardly be lower, but for some reason I wake up in a panic that there will be dire consequences if I’m late, although I can’t imagine what those consequences might be.  It’s not like I’m going to fire myself – who could I find who would work as cheap as I do?  Let’s face it…I have myself over a barrel and I know it.

Oh, well.  As I type this, wind and snow are howling around the house and a blizzard warning is in effect for tomorrow, so I think I’m going to sleep in.

I don’t care what my boss says.

Copyright 2013 Brent Olson  

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