So, for the last [mumblety] years, I have been attempting to implement a cunning plan. Behold!
1. Make a ferociously fraught schedule!
2. Stick to the damn thing!
3. ??? (Success of some sort?)
Alas, life hates an
idiot tryer, and therefore nothing has gone according to plan since I came up with said plan*. Rational inferior people of lesser willpower would probably have moved on to a better plan in the face of repeated failure, but I am nothing if not stubborn. And so, every single Monday starts with the vow that this week, Everything Will Be Different!
*(Although, perhaps nothing has gone according to plan ever, who knows? We could ask a dinosaur, if only an asteroid strike hadn’t wiped them out. Perhaps, this is Evidence.)
And every single Monday, it is slightly different, I will give it that. Lo, on this particular week – the last week where I have to keep my sanity before having a week off! – the ferocious schedule fell on its face due to the following:
Potential-psycho lodger finally leaves!
Hurrah! Sadly, this was scheduled for Monday morning, when I am traditionally supposed to be at work. Am I letting him sidle out of my pad and off to who-knows-where unattended? Like hell.
Luckily my boss appeared to be in a good mood, especially for a Monday morning, and when I called and told her I have a Situation and will make up the hours later, she didn’t even say, ‘Could you be slightly more specific’, which was nice.
And he left and everything, and there was no unpleasantness! Woo! Freedom!
Although there was very nearly some unpleasantness when, on his way out the door, he said brightly that, If things do not work out in London, he may well want to take the room again.
See, I can understand why he wants to take the room again – why the hell not, indeed, he didn’t do any cleaning whatsoever for three months, despite my saying I wanted it split down the middle (and granted, that one was on me to enforce, but he, um, yeah kinda weirded me out by looking at me askance when I said things like, Could you use a bathmat please… so I didn’t), and the one time it looked like he wasn’t going to get his every demand met, he threw such a strop that I caved (in case he followed it up with a spree of devastation or something). And yeah, he probably wouldn’t have done, and it’s probably unfair to characterise him as a aggressive and potentially-violent bugger just cos he got pretty damn aggressive when he wasn’t getting his own way; and just because he’s demonstrated snap decision-making, poor impulse control, wild and fairly tangential accusations when not getting his own way, a disinclination to apologise for anything, and a distinct lack of consideration for anyone else sharing his living space, this doesn’t mean he is a psychopath. (It just means he has many of the characteristics of one! Boom boom! Oh no wait, that kinda isn’t funny, what with him being in my home and all.)
So yeah, I think these are all good reasons I absolutely don’t want him back in my home.
Plus, where is Boris the cactus now, eh? In the compost, is where, because he was killed and his corpse was (apparently) placed carefully across the pot he lived in. He was too young! Well okay, he was thirty. But I still have Natasha the cactus, and though she has never brought in any money at all, I’m still taking her over that guy.
(Also, on a pettier note, Potential-psycho lodger was costing me a small fortune in bog-roll, and while putting his sheets through the wash ten minutes after he stopped darkening my door, I discovered he had cleaned me out of softener. I didn’t even realise he was using my softener. Possibly because he didn’t do any laundry until this weekend, when he washed every sodding item individually… okay, my bad, this has now Officially degenerated into mudslinging, which reflects poorly on me and me alone. Y’hear?)
To cut back to the ‘plot’, I decided not to laugh in his face and say something along the lines of, Ahahahahaha NO, in case something came of this that I regretted. Sadly, I had that thought after my jaw dropped open, right in front of him, so I think he has twigged the way the wind is blowing. Oops.
However. With the spare room gutted and the new lodgers finally settled in it, it was time to get down to work, and how, because there are extra clinics all over the shop that need typed and not content with losing half a day today, I have to lose a whole day on Tuesday to:
Compulsory Mandatory Training Time!
Woo, a whole day of sitting in a blasting-hot lecture theatre! What could be more fun! Well, sandwiches; or even biscuits with the coffee break, but hey, it is the Age of Austerity and all. I will put my hand up to being the world’s worst employee, because I smuggled all my sums in and spent half the day working on double-angle formula, earning myself the total adoration of the nurse next to me (for some reason). Still, at least I showed up, unlike half the names on the list – one of whom was my Ex-Cellmate, wail, I was really looking forward to seeing her again! (Maybe why she skipped out, who knows. I don’t think she enjoyed sharing this cubbyhole at the hospital anywhere near as much as I did, ho hum).
Pretty much none of the topics covered were anywhere near as interesting as I thought they were going to be, also. I know, I know, I actually expected to learn new and useful information at a mandatory training programme, no wonder I am perpetually disappointed by my life. Conflict Management was not aimed at dealing with shouty colleagues, for instance, but at using body language to deal with shouty patients; and there was so little in the way of actual advice I’m not really sure how we made it last an hour. (Also, all my patients are shouty on the phone.) The only valuable information I took away from that one is that there are advanced courses in How To Handle Scuffles – which I am not eligible for. Bah.
Child Protection was a bit of an eye-opener, if only because they assured us that a) repeated cigarette burns are a sign of child abuse (repeated? How would a child get even one cigarette burn by accident? I mean, a burn that is recognisably from a cigarette, rather than say, walking past a frying breakfast?) and, b) there is a child-trafficking ring alive and well in Glasgow and making money hand over fist.
Well, that bummed everyone out right in time for lunch.
Unfortunately, Infection Control was held with the lights out, and when I am made to sit in the dark without talking, I can go to sleep in under a minute. Which is exactly what I did. I was woken up, however, by the subject of Fecal Transplant, which I really, really wished I hadn’t woken up for. Oh I know the principle of this, I thought, it is where they take someone’s poo and give someone else an enema with it, and voila! They don’t die of C differens!
It is NOT AN ENEMA, turns out.
Also, one of the nurses in the audience stuck her hand up (as it were) and volunteered the information that whenever her ward do that, they have to use a hand-blender first and… oh god. I hope they are stationed nowhere near any sort of kitchen.
(How did they come up with this as a treatment in the first place, I wonder? But not too much, in case I find out.)
However! Fire Safety was an awesome lecture. The woman giving it was very no-nonsense, and visibly passionate about her subject; and since I have just spied a job which I am in no way qualified for except on a technicality (running a decontamination unit and lecturing on same) I paid a lot of attention to how she went about it. Also, this is the first time in any fire safety talk that anyone has addressed the (haha!) burning question of, So What Size Of Fire Is Safe To Tackle With A Fire-extinguisher Then?
(Anything that will fit in a small waste-paper bin, turns out.)
This just left Lifting And Handling to get through without dying of boredom. And here we lucked out, for the woman giving this one was a right comedian, and granted most of her jokes were about getting old (‘they say forty’s the new thirty! They say fifty’s the new forty! Y’all know as well as I do that fifty’s the new ninety-five!’) I stayed awake and learned that my lack of posture is going to cripple me for life, oh woe. I mean, I knew that, and lo it has not changed anything, but I’d never seen it with diagrams.
My prediction: despite my fear and resolve, tomorrow I’ll be hunched over the keyboard as usual.
Finally, A Miracle Occurs
So after all that faff, sheer terror of staying in this job until I die propelled me from my bed at five on Wednesday morning, and I worked at the Sums, and I worked at the Hellday prep, and I worked at the admin pile at home and I had to keep on taking all the stuff that came to live on top of me in my bedroom back into the studio, and in fact I worked till sodding half past nine at night – at which point, it took over an hour of chair-dancing and cough Lambrini cough I am such a Ned (and only half a bottle, I am such a lightweight) to mellow out enough to get some sleep. However! Finally! I am hitting the Zone! A new leaf beckons!
I promptly slept in like anything.
Also, my temper is getting worryingly short. I tell myself to get a grip and chill out – just because the phone is non-stop and the emails are flooding in and there are three people at the door all wanting my attention at once before I ever get down to the meat-and-potatoes of this job, if I cannot deal with this, how could I ever manage an actual Role of Responsibility? So I must be very zen and think of people who are much cooler and calmer and more collected (and all fictional characters in movies, come to think of it).
I promptly got some actual Responsibility – for managing clinic appointments, which is right outside my remit (and Authority!), but it turns out everyone else is off sick with stress. Everyone. I eventually ended up liaising with the boss’s boss’s boss, who is so far up the greasy pole I probably can’t even see her shoes from here. I had no idea she even existed, except in abstract, until I called someone-completely-different’s phone and she answered it.
(Because they are off sick with stress. From covering for someone else who is off sick with stress. As I predicted, under-investment and refusal to fill any empty shoes have started The Domino Effect, and lo, what the government appear to want will come to pass – the NHS will crumple like a nun being walloped in the stomach with a rifle-butt and everyone will say, See, Socialised Medicine Does Not Work! now let the poor eat cake! (the fat useless scroungers, also have you noticed how many of them don’t have jobs in this recession, it’s like they’re not even trying to achieve anything! let’s cut their benefits and make them work at Poundstretcher for no pay.) I am enraged on so many levels.)
We spent a whole morning trying to squeeze a month’s worth of Really Urgent referrals into a whole day of slots, before I had a sudden brainwave! (It was mine! Go me! Unless it fails, in which case, see under ‘do not have the Authority for this’) – and when I finally got back to the meat-and-potatoes (and even more missed calls), the door promptly burst open to reveal my Colleague of Cakes. ‘I have a stack of mail half a foot high that’s been returned because the database is sodding up the GP addresses,’ she said. ‘It’s for all our team, at both hospitals, but it’s come to me, so I’m giving it to you, cos I went and got it.’
And just like that, I was so angry I made a snappy comment. That’s the second time in a week.
I did not even have the strength to drown my sorrows after that. Hell, for some reason since Potential-psycho-lodger left, the booze consumption is right down and the eating of vegetables is up! … why do I still feel like a tosser?
Plans That Go Wrong In A Good Way!
So finally it was Friday, and I only had half an hour of overtime left to do (and everything to be done in it as well, being a day and a half behind already). Oh, and a meeting with the boss that took half the morning. And a bunch of extra emergencies that came up when everyone discovered I am on my way to a week’s freedom.
(‘But did you get anything sorted during the meeting?’ one of the People Having An Emergency asked. ‘The mail?’ I ventured. ‘No, about your humungous workload!’ I fell about laughing, because the meeting was about this new computer system we’re getting instead*.
If this doesn’t seem particularly hilarious, it probably helps if you’re halfway batshit or something.)
*( Well, also it was about Hilarious Stories of Vermin Infestations In This Very Hospital, but I missed the start of that, thank god, being on the phone to a Very Angry Patient at the time.)
And then… I was free! Tada! No drumroll or anything.
It felt a bit anticlimactic really. I staggered home and debated going to bed before my mate’s birthday bash, but I feared I would sleep right through it, so there was nothing for it but to check the venue, scoff a bargain-basement pizza for ballast, and write a card.
In fact, I debated not going at all, but hey, social obligation, first day of freedom, yada yada, if you don’t go now, when are you going to attend a party then? (I would have been all, hey, Fun! but these days I doubt I am capable of it, grumpy old cow that I have become. I seem to prefer a day of digging mud to a night of freeform revelry, and it’s only partly because the former costs nothing. It’s also because I have finally realised that after getting very stressed, I can get drunk merely on the fumes from other people’s pints and make an absolute tit of myself).
Oh, and it turns out it is a Compulsory Hat night out, damn. Well, I have lots of hats!
So, the middle-ground plan was to go out for a couple of drinks to Show Willing, hand out lots of sponsorship money (multi-tasking!) then get my arse home and get a nice kip before hitting the Sums, the allotment, and the bus to the Bossman’s flat to scrub it down, in that order. And all before midday, preferably. However.
1. The Biblical deluge we’re having at the moment (even for the west coast of Scotland, it is quite impressive. So much so that Floodline haven’t texted me for days; and they’re the first to alert me to the merest chance of a puddle on any road between here and Thurso. Maybe they drowned) meant the trains were bollixed: of course they were. Fortunately, the underground was running, but I know not why.
2. So I ended up an hour and a half late, and then before I had even finished my second pint, the last train was leaving Central, and there was me still a tube away from Central, so I figured it would be equally as expensive to go back to the birthday girl’s flat for a wee dram as to get a cab straight away. Besides
3. Some folks I rather like and hadn’t seen in ages had just turned up, and they looked pleased to see me too, and despite being a grumpy old cow, I am sad enough to ditch perfectly rational plans to skidaddle on this basis alone. I was also in the middle of a very feminist conversation with a total stranger, and it seemed to be going well.
With hindsight, I should have seen how this would end. However! The middle was great and convinced me I had made the right decision! We got challenged to a dance-off in the middle of the street by a bunch of strangers! (We lost; despite a spirited showing from Connor O’bain, one of their lot could breakdance). I got challenged to an arm-wrestling competition by Mr O’Bain cos he’s been in training to slog ten miles with the army while getting electrocuted and was jealous of my (totally unused for over a year) biceps – and I won! A paddling pool was produced and hauled onto the roof, filled with beers and glowsticks, and there was no way in hell I was not going to confront my fear of heights, clamber out after it and paddle about on the sixth floor, next to a ‘balcony’ rail that was not safe to lean on (the birthday girl pointed out the gaping hole on the next-door rail, where her neighbour had leaned on it and the whole thing had disintegrated, taking him down onto the tarmac, AUGH). There was not room for four of us in the paddling pool, but we managed somehow, despite the song someone was singing about our feet being vaginas. And nobody died and I made new friends and caught up with old friends and there were stars and music and cider and it was all totally lovely and I was still home before daylight and everything was fab.
And then I woke up at five in the evening and I had not gone to Edinburgh to see the Bossman and it was our one year anniversary.
Still. I made it to Saturday without flipping out!! I win! (except I really, really don’t).