Earl has not returned as planned.
I am left alone with my thoughts and the tortuous sounds of a dying air-conditioner.
Brrrr….brrr…bleh…..brrr….brrr….bleh….I am unsure how much more time the unit has left, but it can’t be long. There is no home appliance hospice that I can call to quiet its final days or a minister to read its final rites. It must die on its own terms and then we will make do with the wide range of illegitimate services offered by Junkman. In the meantime, I turn up the radio to drown out the brrr…brrr…bleh… and send a message to find out Earl’s whereabouts.
Could it be that he is in the hospital? Stuck on the side of the road with a flat or engine trouble? Was he saving a kitten from a tree or helping an elderly woman across the street with her groceries.
I know that something is wrong; it is unlike him to be four hours late on a Monday. Or more accurately, it WAS unlike him before this summer. When the message came through from the once ever so reliable and committed Earl, I spluttered out the hot tea I was sipping in a spray of disbelief.
He meant to take the day off; he just never got around to making the request, formally or informally.
No sorry or my bad. He was offended in an unaware, teenage type of way that taking the day off without previous notification of any sort was an issue. Like duh, can’t you read my mind, he might have said if he was a few decades younger. Instead, he texted, a clear sign of the times, “c u tmw.”
Perhaps even more surprising, this explanation was accepted by our supervisor as one of those things that sometimes happen. With no further questions, the case was closed, chalked up to the miscommunication of a senior moment.
In this, a fortunate new precedent has been set, whether my supervisor is aware or not, one in which intention is just as good as filling out the time off form and following through with the two required signatures at least one week in advance. This opens the door to so many wonderful opportunities, like sleeping in and texting mid-morning that I simply won’t be coming in today. Did I not submit a form? Well, I meant to, so that’s enough, right?
Things are changing, every day and in every way. People are giving slack in the rope as they pull the strings tight in other areas. The chicken-littles cry that the sky is falling while others refuse to even take the time to look up. It is preposterous, the sky can never fall. Perhaps we will stop saying what is impossible when the clouds get stuck in the trees and the sky’s blanket of blue is held up by those few who are still standing.
Maybe Earl won’t come back and I will join the rank of chicken-littles crying that the end is nigh or maybe just plan to take an unplanned day for myself.