Thursday, June 8, 2017

Writer’s Workshop: The Late John Holton

No, I haven’t died, unless something has happened between the time I wrote this (Tuesday afternoon) and the time you’re reading it that I don’t know about.

Since being married to Mary, we’re not late for anything. In fact, we’re almost always early, sometimes by an hour or more. I can’t really say the same thing for times when I have been on my own, but there have been times when there have been extenuating circumstances. Sometimes not entirely my fault.

There was the morning that I had an exam in a class I wasn’t doing especially well in. I lived at Loyola’s north side campus, but took all my classes at the downtown one, and it was often a struggle to get to class on time. This particular class was the first of the day for me, so I was sure to get up extra early and give myself plenty of time to get there.

I usually took the train downtown, but this particular morning I arrived in front of the L station just as the #151 Sheridan Road bus arrived. I decided to take the bus that morning. I had taken another bus to school, the #147, that ran roughly along the same roads and had gotten me to school in plenty of time, and I was certain the 151 would do the trick for me.

What I failed to take into consideration was that the 147 was an express bus, while the 151 was a local. Thus, I was surprised when the bus failed to turn down the Outer Drive, but continued down Sheridan Road. It stopped at nearly every street corner to pick up more passengers, some of whom hadn’t found the fifty cent fare before boarding. When that happened, the bus driver waited patiently as they rummaged through pockets and purses looking for sufficient change to allow the bus to continue, oblivious to the poor bastard that was having fits wondering if he’d ever get to school.

To make a long story short, instead of arriving at school well before the nine o’clock start time, I dashed into the classroom at a quarter to ten, giving me all of five minutes to do the exam. (Ten, really; the professor took pity on me and gave me an extra five minutes.) Surprisingly, I didn’t do that badly on the exam, managing a C minus. Could have been worse.

Then, there was the morning, during the time when I was working third shift, that I had a nine o’clock interview with another company. I had verified the route several times with the interviewer and with the CTA (since I didn’t drive at the time), and estimated that, even if I left work as late as 7:30, I would have plenty of time to get to the place, fill out the application, and be nice and relaxed for the interview.

Unbeknownst to me, as I worked that night, a snowstorm blew through Chicago, leaving roughly ten inches of blowing and drifting snow practically everywhere. This tied up the buses and made the roughly four-block walk to the site from the bus stop an adventure. But I made it, an hour and a half late. The interviewer was polite, granting me fifteen minutes to make the case for hiring me before showing me the door.

More snow was falling when I exited the building, and continued to fall as I rode and as I waited an hour for a bus to take me home. I got home, finally, four hours later, and fell into bed, fully dressed. The last sound I heard was the phone ringing, which I figured was either the interviewer or the recruiter calling to tell me that they had seen all they wanted of me and to have a nice life. Which was fine by me. I never wanted to see them again, either.

Are there more stories? Oh, believe me, I could write a book.

Today’s prompt was “Write a blog post inspired by the word: late.”

from The Sound of One Hand Typing

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