This summer may as well be a vacation. I intern from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., three days a week.
Other than that, I have zero commitments. I have never lived here before, so I put most of my free time toward making friends and exploring the city. No family to report to. No curfew. It’s mostly me, my new friends, and a lot of running and other forms of exercise.
My supervisor and I have already bonded at how we can plow through a pack of gum in a few hours. We both have the jaw muscles of a snapping turtle.
Life is good.
Are you asking me or telling me?
It’s 2:55 p.m., which means it’s time for me to pack up and head home. I pause at my supervisor’s cubicle before heading to the elevator.
“Anything you need from me?”
“No, you’re all set! See you Thursday.”
Thursday? I’m supposed to come in tomorrow.
I let it slide. Unlike me, she’s in the 3 p.m. slump. Mistakes are bound to be made in the midst of brain fog.
I push the “DOWN” button, and smile at the thought of my upcoming five-mile run. This city is so nice in the summer.
My brain obsesses over the Thursday gaffe. I may be an intern, but this company values me enough to notice I’m not where I’m supposed to be.
Time to A/B test this thing.
I have been fired and they didn’t tell me
7:30 a.m.: I wake up, shower and get ready for the day. Luck favors the prepared, and I should be ready to dash out the door cursing the fact that “I overslept.”
8:00 a.m.: This is it. If you wait another minute, you will be late. I stay seated. If this were a game of chicken, I would win.
8:30 a.m.: I open my laptop, and get my phone ready for the deluge of attempts to find out where I am.
8:45 a.m.: Nothing yet. But sometimes my supervisor doesn’t arrive until 9. Also, I’m not self-involved enough to think the company can’t function without me.
9:10 a.m.: She must be really behind.
9:30 a.m.: Well, if she showed up late, she probably has to play catch up. She doesn’t have time to figure out where I am.
9:40 a.m.: You would think, though, that she could have asked HR or the intern coordinator to determine my location.
9:45 a.m.: Maybe she’s sick.
9:47 a.m.: Or maybe my absence has caused her so much work she can’t even find the time to talk to HR.
9:52 a.m.: She had a big project prepared for me today, and I didn’t show up. No, that can’t be right. My imagination is too friendly with hyperbole.
9:55 a.m.: She’s on the phone with the client, who has said they are firing us because we cannot deliver.
10:00 a.m.: I’m fired. They’re so mad at me, they haven’t even bothered to tell me my position has been terminated.
11:00 a.m.: That was unproductive. Craigslist has nothing listed for summer internships. I’ve already paid my entire summer’s rent. Looks like this is a summer vacation.
12:02 p.m.: May as well go for a run.
12:05 p.m.: Geez, it’s hot out here. How do people manage lunch runs?
12:10 p.m.: I can’t stop thinking about getting fired. I’m in no mood to run, anyway. It’s too hot.
2:00 p.m.: Still nothing.
3:00 p.m.: Nothing.
3:30 p.m.: Nope.
4:00 p.m.: Zilch.
4:30 p.m.: Nada.
5:00 p.m.: The prodigal son was welcomed home, I rationalize. Perhaps if I go in tomorrow and apologize profusely, I may be able to return. After all, I’m unpaid. It’s not like they are losing anything.
5:05 p.m.: I ask my roommate if my apology sounds convincing enough. He doesn’t have any feedback. Screw him.
5:20 p.m.: I had no idea there were so many ways to apologize. I am suffering from information overload. Thanks, eHow.
6:00 p.m.: I’m tired of rehearsing this apology. Plus I’m hungry.
10:00 p.m.: I can’t sleep. I’m fired. I can’t sleep. I’m fired. I’ll never eat again.
A cog in the machine
I get assigned a project on Thursday. Afterward, my supervisor and I go to lunch. This is it. This is the confrontational speech. I mentally rehearse my apology on our way to the diner.
She doesn’t bring up yesterday’s debacle. Neither do I. Perhaps, we have silently agreed to put the past in the past.
A month later, I tell her what happened. I can’t stand the guilt.
“That’s too funny! I never noticed.”
Image from: Pixabay.com