The Pendulum Principle
The day passed slowly but uneventfully. The kids have been out of school all this week due to Spring break, so it's been a bit hectic at the Day Center. Mama had been burying herself in some of her books to keep from going insane while I pounded the pavement looking for work.
I returned to the Day Center about 3:30 and five minutes later was fielding a call from one of the agencies I'd sent a resume to the previous day, based in Winston*. They urgently needed help; would I be willing to come in the next morning? I usually like to give it a day or two to prepare, get my clothes ready and examine the logistics of getting there without a car. But I'm also not fool enough to turn graphic design work in a place where the guy also hinted that I could go full-time. So I quickly agreed. That fast agreement would come back to bite me...
Checking on the logistics that night at our host church, Glenwood Presbyterian, I found that I'd have to ride the 6:30am GTA bus running past the church to get downtown by 7:00, where I'd board the PART bus to be at the PART regional hub by 7:30, where I'd board the PART conneector that would have me in Winston by 8:00, where I'd board the WSTA bus that would take me to the office before 8:30, which is when they'd have me there.
Okay, now pay attention; this is where Murphy** decided to go to work with me...
I was up on time, on GTA on time, on the PART bus on time, at the Regional Hub on time...
Yep, that's where it went to hell.
A round trip to and from the office in Winston costs $8.00. I had on me roughly half that. I knew I'd have to get to an ATM at some point, but have you ever noticed that when you most need to tap an ATM, there are never any handy? We can't leave the church at night, so I couldn't find the nearest one there. I didn't have time to go hunting one in downtown Greensboro, so my earliest chance to hit an ATM would have to be once I got to the regional PART hub; there's a convenience store nearby that has one. I figured I'd be able to run over, tap my account and get back to the bus in time to get to Winston. Piece of cake.
As soon as I got off the bus, I rushed over to the convenience store and went looking for the ATM, which, for some reason, was tucked behind a stack of recklessly-placed soda pallets. Working quickly, I got my money and went to the counter to have it broken, since it was a case $20. A quick glance out the window told me that the Winston connector hadn't arrived yet. I went to the counter, grabbed a newspaper, asked the woman for a lottery ticket, grabbed my change, and headed back to the hub. I rounded the corner just in time to see the three PART buses, of which Winston's was one, pulling off!
Cursing my fate (and the fect that ATMs are always to doggone convenient till you need one) I sat down to wait for the next bus. I could still pull it off, if I took a taxi in Winston instead of waiting for the hourly bus. It'd be more expensive, but I figured I'd but the money back when I got paid. At least I had the want ads and a lottery ticket. The ticket wasn't a winner and the paper had no jobs I was quallified for, so I figured today would be One of Those Days.
Got to the job site on time and settled in. At least the work was good, if confusing, because they had to explain things in a hurry, but I put in a full day and was asked to come back the next day. That's always a promising sign.
The routine of catching disparate buses was a little better today, although I arrived at the office 30 minutes late because I'd misread the WSTA bus schedule. They assured me that it was okay, however, since I was still on freelance status.
Still, you don't want to deviate too much from the office schedule. It looks bad.
Anyway, I'd not had time to pack a lunch, so I got to eat at one of the quaint restaurants nearby. It was small and sort of crowded, but I liked the cozyness of it. According to the sign outside, it originally used to be a carriage house, although it no longer really looks like one. I observed the other patrons there; they were mostly middle-aged and up, no doubt retirees out enjoying the warm weather. A couple of the younger set had laptops, including the girl at the table next to mine. I fought down the urge to peek.
After work, I entertained thoughts of bunning in Winston for a couple hours and taking a Greyhound bus back to Greensboro. Tempting though it was, I decided to just come on back and avoid getting in trouble.
I was very tired when I got to the church last night. I remember watching "Smallville" on the color TV downstairs, and then went upstairs to our room. By the time I got settled and changed into my bedclothes, it was nearly time for bed. I figured a little light reading would be in order, and stretched out on the bed with my book. Mike was on his bed sketching, Nessie was playing with the other children in the program, and Mama was playing the video game on my cell phone as usual. So with everyone in place, I opened my book...
...And was awakened by the most godawful commotion downstairs under our window. Glancing at the clock, I was shocked to realize I'd been asleep for over an hour and hadn't even realized it! The noise was the result of what sounded like a large group of teenagers. Raised, angry voices told me that it was probably due to gang activity or some other such foolishness. Somewhere in the shadows in the back of my mind, the Beast suggested that maybe it was a mob come to storm the church and burn it down. I swatted him across the nose with a few bars of Olivia Newton-John's "Magic" and sat upright in bed. Mama had already gone to the blinds to peer out for a look, before I could raise the possibility that whatever was going on downstairs could only end in gunshots. Grumpily, I fought down the impulse to go to the window myself and reached for the phone. I must really have been tired, because I only vaguely remember dialing 911 and telling the dispatcher that there was a disturbance at the church and gave the address. Things seemed to quiet down a few minutes later. I don't know if the ops ever showed up, because I think I went back to sleep very quickly.
I'm still a bit tired. Running between two cities and getting up at the crack of dawn seems to be taking its toll. Fortunately today is Good Friday. Not much is open or occurring, although I have a job interview later this evening at a place here in Greensboro. Probably I'll just spend most of today resting up. Have to be back in Winston Monday.
*The official name of the city is Winston-Salem, so named in the early 20th Century when the neighboring cities of Winston and Salem merged (get it?) But most folks around here simply refer to it as "Winston".
**You do understand about Murphy's Law, don't you?