I’m always on time for everything. Except my work. I’m never on time for that. Doesn’t matter what time I’m supposed to report – morning, afternoon, midnight (quite usual during my residency days) – I’m never on time.
It’s totally inexplicable. Not that I hate my work or anything – which isn’t like saying that I’m absolutely in love with my work. I mean, you won’t find me exuberantly wishing my boss a cheerful good morning or holding his pudgy frame in a bear hug and kissing his blotchy cheek with fraternal affection, my eyes shining with gratitude for having been given the chance to save the sick and comfort the miserable of humanity. Not really. I like my work because I’m good at nothing else, and it gives me the means to maintain the subsistence levels of the upper class poor of the US of A. And I can afford to take my wife shopping on weekends (provided of course that the stores have a discount sale on).
Earlier my boss used to prowl around the entrance to the hospital to catch me coming late. As soon as he saw me, he used to glance at the watch pinned on the wall over the receptionist, and shake his head with a particularly mournful expression. But needing to pretend that he had other work too besides stalking me, he couldn’t do his ‘catching the thief red-handed’ act every day. So one day he installed a biometric machine at the entrance. It was a rather interesting piece. I mean, who wouldn’t like it when a pleasant female voice says “Thank you” when you insert your finger correctly into a particular orifice? After about a month of this, my boss called me into his office.
“You know Doctoratlarge, I hate to have to say such things to a responsible consultant like yourself, but the biometric machine says that you have been late EVERY SINGLE DAY this month!”
“Indeed! Haha! These machines, I tell you! They’re actually taking over the world. We humans are already becoming their slaves. And soon it will be Skynet and Judgment Day and we’ll have to find our John Connor.”
The boss remained dour-faced and silent. Obviously he didn’t get the joke.
It’s not that I get up late or anything. I usually get up well in time. But things happen to me. I mean, sometimes it’s the newspaper. I get the Times, and I tell you, I hate that newspaper. A completely rubbish newspaper. Especially the color supplement. They always publish these pics of nubile young actresses and models in a rather advanced state of undress. And if it is Katrina Kaif or Nargis Fakhri or Scarlett Johansson, I just have to go to the bathroom and waste my time there. These things are beyond a man’s control. Old Adam and his original sin have ensured that men will continue to waste their times in bathrooms for eons to come.
And if it’s not the paper, it’s Twitter. Every night when I sleep, I generally find myself aghast at the amount of time that I’ve wasted on Twitter. And when I think I might have spent that time in discovering an enlightening philosophy, or creating a body of literature that would uplift the entire human spirit, I feel sorry for humanity for having been deprived of the fruits of my genius. And I always promise to myself that whatever happens, I won’t check my Twitter tomorrow. Which of course means that the first thing I do on getting up in the morning is to check my Twitter notifications. And I usually find that some football fan has taken umbrage to one of my tweets about Wayne Rooney, or some feminist has called me a misogynist pig, and by the time I’ve poured some more sarcastic boiling oil over these outraged people, I find that I’m already an hour late.
Sometimes an evil angel inserts the thought into my mind that my ass is getting too fat, and then I determine that I should get some exercise. I usually choose to cycle. Firstly because, I’m too lazy to jog. But mostly because my wife is constantly reminding me that the expensive bicycle that I’ve bought is doing nothing but gathering rust (though God knows that the bicycle cost no more than half of what she manages to spend in a single excursion to the local mall).
I don’t mean to indulge in excessive self-praise, but when I start on some project, I put my heart and soul into it. So when I start cycling, I try to lose all my excess fat the very first day. So I travel so far down the road less travelled, that I find that I simply have no more energy left to ride back, and have to trundle the bicycle on foot. Which of course means an hour late for work and going off to sleep while examining a patient.
Once I bought a gym membership, and it was so expensive that I hauled my ass every single morning to get it literally burned off by the sadistic trainers at the damned place. Things were going alright, when one day a really curvy young thing started coming to the gym at the same time as I did, and that sort of took my focus off. Now don’t mistake me – I’m not such a pervert as to see a curvy young thing and immediately rush off to the gym bathroom. Like the perfect gentleman, I always rushed off to the bathroom at my home. And that of course meant that I started getting late to work again.
One day I finally decided that enough was enough. Never again would I be late for work again. I put my alarm clock to go off at 4:00 am. The clock obviously thought that I was just trying to pull off a prank on it and simply didn’t bother to go off. Not to be daunted by such minor problems, I set the alarm on my smart phone. For three successive nights, the alarm went off at 4:00, but the sound failed to penetrate the dense fog of my sleepiness. I know the alarm went off, because the third morning my wife threatened to break my smartphone on my head if it disturbed her sleep again at such an unearthly hour. Which led me to request my wife if she would wake me up at 4:00 the next morning, which led her to ask me whether I thought I’d married an alarm clock. I said, I wished I had, because it would have tickled me mightily to clonk her on her head to press on her snooze button. But of course I didn’t SAY that. One doesn’t say such things to one’s wife if one wishes not to be mowed down in the prime of one’s life.
So many things conspire to make me late. Sometimes it is a torrent that I simply have to download to conclusion to see if it’s good quality. Sometimes it’s the highlights of the late night tennis match that I missed. So many things that a man has got to do in this life, and so little time to do them in. The only thing that doesn’t make me late is early morning sex. Married men don’t get to indulge in luxuries like early morning sex – not after 10 years of marriage.
But persistence has its rewards. And once for a whole of 25 days I was able to reach work at exactly the right time. The female voice that said “Thank you” on fingering her orifice seemed especially pleased at my persistent punctuality. Even my boss very nearly threatened to give me a smile in appreciation of my sincerity. I began to have hopes that the miser might be persuaded to give me a raise if I could keep up the good work for a month. On the 26th day, when I was about to drive off in my car, perfectly on time, when suddenly through the windshield I saw my pretty neighbor Mrs P sashaying down towards me with a seductive smile on her face.
“Excuse me Doctoratlarge”, she trilled, “Would you mind sparing me a little bit of your time? I’m feeling a little niggle about my chest that I wished to consult you about.”
“Why sure Mrs P!” I said, jumping out of the car with alacrity. “I’m bound by the Hippocratic Oath to help a patient in dire need”
“Oh, you’re so sweet!” She purred, with a dazzling smile. “I sure hope I’m not making you late”
“Oh no Mrs P, not at all. I’ve plenty of time”
“Oh, but you’ve left the door of your car open” She said. I went back to slam the door shut, and then hurried to lead her into my consultation chamber. I let the car remain in the middle of the road. I wasn’t letting some irritated and irate morning drivers prevent me from discharging my chivalrous obligations.
Well of course I got late that day. Very late. And the scowl on my boss’s face was enough hint that the raise I’d hoped for wasn’t very likely to come to me next month. And anyway, who needed my boss’s raise, when Mrs P had already given me a raise?