bad day pic(This was written a few months back. I've since moved on and hope I can avoid this kind of experience in the future)

I know. Everybody has bad days but don't you feel some people have more than their fair share? You may even think this about yourself.

As writers, bad days can turn into opportunities for story content. So, feel free to use any of my experiences in one of your stories. I know I'll keep these in mind for future scenes.

It's Wednesday morning, seven o'clock. I've worked since eleven the previous night and am ready to go home and try to get as much sleep as possible. I have a busy day planned and know my sleep time will be diminished. I think it's going well because the boss has shown up on time and we've conducted the usual morning shift change business.

Then my bad day begins. Guests choose this exact moment to make a mass exodus and I'm stuck for the next fifteen minutes checking them out of their rooms.

That's partially okay because I know I have to stop off in Ft. Madison to reserve a U-Haul truck and the store doesn't open until 7:30. I'm there on time and the gentleman is ready to help me.

Except of course...he has never reserved a U-Haul before and can't get the computer to accept my credit card. Twenty minutes later I'm finally released to drive another twenty minutes home.

However, I'm so eager to get back to the trailer, I am not paying attention to my location and speed right into the city limits of West Point, only slowing when I see the cop. Too late.

“License, insurance, registration.”

Then I wait. And wait. And wait. Come on, I know I'm going to get a ticket, what are you doing back there? Ordering a pizza? Ten minutes later, he lets me off with a warning.

Back at the trailer, I realize I'm only going to get about an hour's worth of sleep before I'm scheduled to be part of a phone interview for a position for which I applied a month previous and have been following up with the middleman staffing agency every week. (They hadn't been able to retrieve my information.)

9:15 – I'm awake, still in bed, eyes closed, phone in hand, waiting for the agency to call.

9:20 – Ditto

9:30 – Ditto

9:35 – Ditto.

9:40 – I figure they aren't going to call, so turn over and go back to sleep.

10:30 – They call to apologize for not calling and instead of doing the interview then and there, they reschedule for the next day.

12:15 – I'm awake because I have to be on the road as soon as I get around. Shower, shave, pack for two days, drop off the key to a neighbor who will care for Thomas the cat, and I'm off.

I stop for lunch and the Mt. Pleasant KFC/Taco Bell. Protein is what I need to help me stay awake and survive the afternoon. I order the 4-piece combo. Price - $8.49. She comes back with a total of $10.69. “Uh, ma'am, where do you get two dollars' tax?” “Oh, the drink doesn't come with the combo.”

May I digress for just a bit and say that more businesses are going down this path to cheat the customers. Combo meal ALWAYS used to include the drink. Then Long John Silvers started charging almost ten buck for any 'combo' and not including the drink. Now, apparently KFC has decided also to adopt this practice. Absolutely ridiculous, unfair, and price gouging.

Anyway, when I get to the window, the clerk is talking with a co-worker and they're trying to ring up my order but of all the items on the menu, I have chosen the one the register won't recognize. So, I'm screwed out of a meal I really wanted for a higher priced one. (Want to add more infuriating information to the mix? A 4-piece combo has one side and does NOT include a drink. A 4-piece meal has two side and DOES include a drink. The combo is cheaper than the meal but when you add in the drink, it's about the same price. Is that nonsense or what?)

Okay, back on the four lane heading toward Ottumwa and wondering where the cops are because everybody is passing me. When I get to Indian Hills Community College I enter the testing department where I'm scheduled to take a test so I don't have to take an Intro to Computers course next semester. I know the test is going to take about an hour so I bring a drink in...whoops, can't have food or drink in the testing area. Or a cell phone.

After providing the needed information (why doesn't anybody understand that I'm not yet a student so I don't have a student ID number? Later I discovered I DID have a number, just nobody thought to inform me of it.), I begin the two part test. It is unlike anything I expected. Timed. Seven problems per two thirty-minute parts. Roughly a little less than five minutes per exercise. However, what the problem is, what is needed to complete the task, and the solution options, take almost three minutes of fast reading. Then another minute to figure out where everything is on the screen to accomplish the task, and another minute to actually complete the task. Then onto the next one. I had problems with one task and failed to complete the last exercise.

Fortunately, I passed. Barely.

Final stop before I head for Centerville is to speak to someone about financial aid. To receive a federal loan, I must take an online tutorial with questions I must answer so that the system is sure I read the material. However, as I discovered earlier, if I don't finish everything all at once, I have to start from the beginning the next time I log in.

Now the assistant with whom I spoke the last time I visited campus...well, we didn't communicate very well. This time, when I ask for help, she shows me to a computer...and leaves me alone while she returns to her desk close out her shift. She really just wants to leave instead of helping someone who is paying her salary with his tuition.

I slog through the bureaucratic garbage understanding only that it's trying to say, “You are going to receive a loan and you have to pay it back. Do you understand?”

After this, I must sign an acknowledgment that, “Yes, I understand that I am receiving a loan and I must pay it back and that there are penalties and conditions for everything.”

Actually, the entire file looks like Satan's contract and is about as long. There are several tabs I have to read, then before I sign, I must review the information I just read.

By this time I'm ready to punch out the monitor and the non-assistant assistants.

I finally make it to Centerville and to a nice comfy bed and I'm asleep by 9:05.

Good riddance to a bad day.

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