This morning I was late.
Being late in itself is bad, but its worse when the job is new. I felt helpless, temporarily displaced in a familiar place. After failed attempts to hail a cab, I started walking. Google map estimated I would have arrived within 1 hour and 15 minutes.
It was supposed to be a cold spring day, so I had my jacket, but the sun came out today. I’m not sure if it was my nervousness or the fact that I had misinterpreted a cold spring day, but I was sweating profusely. It was 9:10 and while on the train I told my supervisor I would be 5 minutes late. I had no idea where I was. I knew I was in Park Slope, but honestly I was completely lost.
Yes I had the map opened, but what I needed was a cab. I usually don’t hail cabs, in fact, in my neighborhood I am right by the bus, the train and the dollar van. The dollar van stops for any standing figure. So I’m in Park Slope trying to catch a cab and realize that I don’t know how to hold my hand to show a passing cab that I need a ride. Yes I was late, but that was the crazy that filled my mind.
For a while I stood in the 6 o’clock position, bag and winter jacket clutched against my chest. My mind now racing with all those ‘late talks’ with my father – “It is unbecoming of a professional to be late for work”, “NY is an ‘at will’ state consider late a strike if they want you out” and “don’t be late during the probationary period.” For a while I stood there in the 6 o’clock position, petrified that I was going to be fired. Right beside me regular cab stopper held a pose in the 6:10 position, a car stopped she hopped in and she was gone.
My skin started to glisten against the morning sun, sweat running like ice on a sun covered roof. The bus stops were crowded with persons who looked just as anxious as I was, we were all unlucky to be on trains caught by a malfunctioning light.
Assuming the 6:10 position, I tried again to hail a cab, this time they understood the gesture but all indicated they were occupied. I was going to be late; actually, I was already late. Panicked, I sent another email updating my supervisor, this time he didn’t respond.
My paranoia again set in – I have to buy a car and then be stressed about parking, jumping up in the middle of the night frightened that I need to move the car. – The honking horn and annoyed driver pulled me from my thoughts. “Are you coming?”
Two lessons from this morning, 6:10 is the cab stopping position and if the train conductor says there is a temporary problem ahead – get out.