Sunday, September 11, 2011

Perpetually late? You ain't alone.

An excerpt from my novel.

I embarked upon the newest journey of my life by boarding the right train strictly following my old man's instructions. The flashboard at King’s Cross station indicated that my connection was late by five minutes giving me a break from obsessing about the first five minutes at work. The opportunist that I was learning to be from Riya, I decided to jump in line for a steamy cappuccino. I could survive on caffeine, did I mention? Caffeine and love was what I’d tell potential love interests but mostly caffeine. Tapping my feet, I impatiently calculated the process in my head: twenty-five seconds to order, forty-five seconds to process the transaction, stop gap of sixty seconds while the cappuccino was being made, another sixty seconds for picking up the drink and running to the train bringing it to a grand total of three minutes and ten seconds with still one minute and fifty seconds to spare in which I could find me a seat on the train next to a cute guy with a pierced tongue and tell him all about my brand new job at Hues. I had a thing for pierced tongue and it wasn’t just curiosity. But the grandma in front of me with her red lipstick and huge pearls had a different agenda in mind for me – to prove how na├»ve I was and how misplaced my calculation was. It wasn’t her order of four drinks that I was particularly opposed to. It seriously aggravated me when people were not well-versed with the contents of their handbag. Minutes of frantic search and fumbling later, much to my grief, she pulled out a cheque book. I think I’d written my final exam paper faster than the time it took her to fill that cheque which she so lovingly did. But wait, that wasn’t it. Suddenly, she had a light bulb moment and she decided to apply for a frequent buyer card while ensuring that the four drinks she had just bought would indeed be registered in her credit on that card. I was about to take a U-turn and run when I finally heard, ‘What drink can I get started for you, miss?’

My take-offs were generally flawless. It was somewhere midway through the transit where I tended to screw up. If there was one class I needed to go back to, it was time management because I missed the connection and after all the drama, somehow I reached the office by 9.25. Twenty-five minutes late on my first day. Shameful was not the word. Story of my life. I held the coveted record of never been able to reach on time anywhere. It was never a deal breaker though. I always pacified myself saying that once I had achieved the impossible and stumbled upon a career I fancied, I’d be a changed person. Brand spanking new. But here I was, on day one of my first job that I’d tried so hard to get, late just because I couldn’t resist one more frothy drink.


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