I have to catch a 5:30am shuttle to the airport this morning. Getting up at 5:30 runs counter to my nature the way that taking baths runs counter to the nature of toast, so I very carefully implemented my patented triple alarm system. I live in fear of oversleeping and missing a flight, so I take extreme precautions.
I called the front desk and booked the shuttle for 5:30, then asked for a wake-up call at 5:00. (I can get ready really fast if I have to.) Then I set the alarm by the bed for 5:00. Then I set my cell phone alarm for 5:00. I have found this system to be highly reliable. One may fail, two could fail….three? No way. It’s failsafe. Then I lay down and immediately fell into the deep and dreamless sleep of the author on a book tour.
I woke up this morning, for no reason at all. The phone was not ringing with my wake-up call. The cell phone wasn’t ringing with my alarm, the clock radio wasn’t going off. I rolled over and looked at the clock to see how early I was awake and to divine if I could glean even a few more moments of precious sleep and HOLY SAINTED MERINO it was 5:32am!
I jumped up. I said some incredibly appropriate and foul words. (When under duress, I have the ability to string them together with incredible alacrity. It’s a gift.) I swore again. I ran into the bathroom and started ramming my toothpaste and sock yarn into my bags. I swore some more. Bastard pigs! How had this happened! I had already missed the shuttle, I was probably going to miss the flight, I was not going to make the event in Atlanta. Kim at Knitch was going to kill me. Jayme-the-wonder-publicist was going to kill me. I paused.
No- I would kill myself. More efficient, less humiliating. Son of a phentex ball band. How had this happened?!
I ran to the phone. If they could hold the shuttle for 5 minutes I could be there. I dialled the front desk. When the nice girl answered, I exploded into the phone.
“Listen, I don’t know what happened, I really don’t. I had a triple alarm system and somethings happened. You guys didn’t call with the wake up call for 5:00 but I don’t think there’s any time for blame. Lets move on, I’ll blame you later if I miss the flight. You can talk to the knitters. Not me. Now, I’m supposed to be on the 5:30 shuttle which I know has probably already left but if you can please just hold it I can be there in 5 minutes. No…4. Just don’t let it leave I’ll be right there. Don’t let it leave. Get my bill ready. Hold the door open. Distract the driver. Take your top off, I don’t care what you do…just don’t let that shuttle leave if if hasn’t already and if it did, maybe you should call me a cab. Yes, a cab… that’s the answer. Don’t talk. Just do it. I’ll be right there. I can pee at the airport. Damn. Damn. Damn.”
Here I paused, which was not my intent, but I was out of breath. When I did pause, the girl on the other end said “Ma’am, please calm down.”
“Missy – now is not the time for calmness. I’ve been a mother for 18 years. I know when to be calm and this is not it.” I replied, and the first seeds of real fury arose. (I’m not the type to get angry with hotel people, but her calmness in the face of disaster was more than I can bear.)
“Ma’am….?” she said, ever so tentatively, “I can hear that you are upset. I really can, and if you really want a cab, I can call one for you right now, it’ll be here in less than 5 minutes and be waiting for you, but I’m not sure that’s what you want.”
“Oh, are you?” I replied, the hostility welling up in me.
“Yes ma’am. ” she said.
I fell down. My hotel room clock is wrong. It’s ahead by an hour. (Although it still didn’t go off. May be my fault. This is exactly why I have the triple alarm system.)
“Do you think you can still make the 5:30 shuttle?” she inquired.
“This day is off to a challenging start.” I replied.
For the record, my wake-up call and cell phone did ring at 5:00. The triple alarm system remains undefeated.