24 January, 2006

Clocking off

I overslept this morning, waking up at a time that I instantly knew would make me at least half an hour late for work.

It's never happened to me before. I've often outwitted my alarm and my conscience for five, maybe ten minutes, but never for so long and never on a school day.

I had to ring the office and leave a message announcing my tardiness. I then had to rush about getting ready, in the process undoing all the good that had been done by my extended night's sleep. It meant I arrived at work already knackered, but mercifully nobody took the slightest bit of notice when I rolled in at 9.30am and no questions were asked. It's that kind of place.

To be honest, I could get away with deliberately going in late once or twice a week. There are some, for instance, who travel in from Manchester and who never make it for 9am, but still leave as I do on the dot of 5.30pm. Yet there's something inside me that demands I always turn up for things ahead of time and respectably early, even when I have the choice to do otherwise, and work is no different. Besides, my office has always been nicest first thing in the morning: no people, no noise, no expectations, no beady eyes watching you. A chance to compose myself for what follows.

Anyhow, as I crashed in through the door half an hour late I tried to act nonchalent and indifferent. Even this had no impact. Nobody else batted an eyelid. No-one looked at me. It was incredible. Talk about being damned with faint praise - this was being slated with bugger all.

I've still got to work three and a half weeks notice, but it's like I'm already gone. I wasn't expecting to be airbrushed out so soon. Ah well, perhaps it means I should turn up at 10am tomorrow. I mean, what are they going to do - sack me?


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