My last day at work (for the moment, not forever) started early and poorly. The night before, my Wi-Fi had died in my arms and despite the tender loving care it promptly received, it failed to revive. I went to bed immediately after that since I had no clue what to do without Wi-Fi. (Feel free to judge.) I spent the whole night tossing, turning, having Wi-Fi-less nightmares and worrying about the patient, whom I left intubated and comatose. I woke up at 5 am, an hour before the alarm, and went to check the intense care unit straight away. There was no change.
I rebooted everything, again, and, in depths of despair, opened the Control Panel to run the network troubleshooting feature. I have my doubts about this one because whenever I can’t connect to the Internet, it asks me whether I wish to search for solution on the Internet. (Well, I’d love to, but you know, I can’t connect to the Internet.) During this resuscitation operation, the cat was chewing on my nightie and on wires spilling all over the place. Exactly at the point when I gave up, the modem’s yellow eye blinked and Wi-Fi went live.
My Wi-Fi proceeded to be significantly more alive than me, which I partly appreciated and partly hated. Since I had the time, I selected a thirty-minute yoga video to whose accompaniment to perform my usual morning torture. I reasoned it couldn’t possibly make me feel more exhausted than I already was, but I was proven wrong. On a more pleasant note, I allowed whole twenty minutes for painting a full face on my head and another twenty minutes to blow my hair completely dry, front and back. I normally don’t have the time, so I leave the back wet (if I can’t see it, it doesn’t bother me).
As it was my last day, I was carrying a heap of books, a pile of tests and other teaching resources to return to the teacher whom I was substituting. At the same time, I was supposed to hold oral exams that day. Now, the first task was calling for hiking boots and a backpack, while the second one required a smart dress and heels. I compromised, put on jeans and ballet flats but a nice blouse and blazer and took my two largest bags, dragging half my weight in them.
I arrived at the bus stop twenty minutes before the bus departure. I was semi-conscious by then, as I don’t see the need to be wide awake during routine tasks. I lit a cigarette, obviously, to balance out my previous rigorous yoga practice. A nice girl aged fifteen tops approached me and asked, very politely, for a cigarette. That woke me up and I suffered an acute fit of laughter. I countered the kid with a staccato series of questions and answers, including, Don’t say! Why? I don’t think this is going to work out. Buy your own packet for god’s sake. The girl just stared, having lost her speech capacity, and then walked away.
I seated myself and my oversized bags on a bench. A bus which wasn’t mine pulled up and belched out a dozen small screaming kids and their teacher. I clutched the metal grille which formed the bench I was sitting on and did my best to fend off the kid attack. It was worse than a zombie apocalypse. By the time they were done with me, I was painfully awake and traumatised. My bus was delayed, as it only leaves on time when I miss it, and when it did show up, an alien stewardess, who surely wasn’t even employed at the company, emerged from the door.
My distress, however I didn’t think it possible, further deepened. This was supposed to be the last day of my regular routine, I didn’t sign up for begging teenagers, murderous kids or Martian stewardesses. The stewardess’s name tag said Jane Charlotte Something. I knew she was an alien. I told you so. No one in my country has two given names (unless they are pretentious pseudo-celebrities) and no one in my country is called Charlotte (if you wish to name a Czech girl Charlotte, you name her Šarlota, which is a fully legitimate Czech variant that all your fellow countrymen will be able to spell and pronounce).
Charlotte introduced herself as Charlotte into the bus mic, further confirming her extra-terrestrial status by using her exotic second name as if she didn’t have a perfectly normal first name. She sounded like she hated her job. See, I knew she wasn’t a regular employee, as the company takes pride in employing only stewards who can maintain a fake smile throughout the whole day. Customers everywhere are not only entitled but outright expected to vent their frustrations on the staff, so when it was time for complimentary hot drinks, I asked for coffee, no milk, no sugar. I knew Charlotte would mess up. I was sorry for her by the time she returned to ask me what it was I wanted again.
The rest of my day didn’t suck (that much). A manageable number of students arrived for the oral exam and none of them forced me by the sheer power of their incompetence to abuse make a rightful use of my competence to fail them. A special thanks goes to the students who gave up and didn’t show up for the exam at all (you saved me work and saved my day, guys, kudos). My usual coffee shop, where I waited for my bus back, played nice chill-out music and my usual latte came with a complimentary choccie. It only does so on good days. When I discovered that the choccie contained hazelnuts, my happiness (if I had the capacity to experience such a thing) was complete. All came to a full zen circle when the return bus came staffed with Patricia, a stewardess so good at her job that I often wonder if her fake smile is real.