With full credit to and incredible admiration for Judith Viorst for writing one of the best children’s books, ever: “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day”.
I woke up two hours before my 5:02 a.m. alarm on Monday morning, after tossing and turning for hours and tossing some more, and, finally, never really going back to sleep. I watched a third repeat of Piers Morgan’s CNN show, willing myself to find the elusive peace that only deep slumber could offer, which never happened. I knew, then, that it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.
I was the first one in at work, as always, and found it impossible to prioritize the zillion components of opening sidework, knowing my coworkers would be late as always, and once they arrived at work, late, as always, they would leave every sidework task incomplete that they took on, as always, which would set me up, as always, for a weed-fest at the opening bell.
When I couldn’t find the butter ball scooper because the in-room dining staff had hidden it too well, and I broke a half-full wine glass left by the night staff in our breakfast supply “cage,” and then realized we were also out of Frosted Flakes and sugar packets in said cage because the night staff had apparently been starving for an overly sweetened case of cereal, I knew it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.
Maybe I’ll just move to Seattle, where the air is cool and crisp, the evergreens are just that, and it’s sunny and bright and perfect weather three months out of twelve. Well, not until my shift is done.
When my first table was a nice lady from Denmark who spoke perfect English, and who wanted the most expensive breakfast Benedict we offer, plus a side of bacon and a mimosa, and who sat alone at my four-top for two and a half hours working on her laptop, thereby preventing me from turning said four-top, and who tipped me exactly nothing at the end of two and a half hours, despite the multiple refills of coffee, a free side of multigrain toast, and some great conversation that I provided, I knew it was but the start of a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.
When I offhandedly pointed out to my manager who arrived an hour into the shift that my coworkers had disappeared to God knows where to sleep, eat, put on makeup, do their hair, and sleep some more, and that although the sidework wasn’t complete, it wasn’t my fault, and she asked me why we had no ice, why fresh iced tea wasn’t brewed, and did I realize the juice glass on table 104 hadn’t been polished even though the table wasn’t in my section, I knew it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.
Maybe I’ll move to Montana to be next-door neighbors with my best-sister-friend and savor the cool mountain air and forget that winter exists there 11 months out of 12.
When I didn’t have another table for an hour and then a server from the night shift was called in because, said the manager, “We are supposed to be very busy,” and I had already written a third check on a zero-percent interest credit-card offer in so many months to make ends meet because I make less than half in two weeks what I used to make in four days in the Keys, but at least my Great Guy makes great money because they auto grat 18 percent on every single check at his place, and I told my manager I’d had it, and walked off the floor and smoked three cigarettes out back while waiting for HR to open its doors, I knew that what was already a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day wasn’t looking good for improvement.
When the HR lady opened her doors to find me waiting for her, and I couldn’t utter a coherent word to tell her all that was so very wrong with my job, with my finances, but mostly with the life that I had so excitedly set out to live four years ago, and she told me “disciplinary action” would certainly be taken against me, and I agreed that it should, and she said how surprised she was because she’d heard such great things about me, but policy was policy, and I told her do what she had to do and that I would write it all down for the F&B Manager because I could write ever so much better than I could speak about it all, and she simply nodded while jotting down notes, I knew that while some days may seem terrible, this was, in fact, the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day of all days, and it had not a whole lot to do with why I’d waited for HR to open up that day.
Maybe I’ll move to a place I’ve never seen.
My Great Guy tells me he’ll pay the rent and take over my car payments. The F&B Manager tells me I am not fired; quite the contrary, would I please make a detailed sidework list and mention to HR that we are working on a solution for me because that will help him. My one friend here tells me better things are in store. My manager says she thought we were friends and asks why I went to HR, and from now on she’ll be more careful about sharing her feelings with me (huh?). My coworkers snicker and speak about me in Spanish, which I pretend not to understand and understand very well.
Today, when I researched a small delivery of Sephora makeup items that cannot be gotten in the Fort Lauderdale store because they stock their store like a Soviet Union market of decades ago, and then realized that the delivery had been made days ago on the day when I found my locked mailbox wide open and empty–on the very day I walked off the floor at work and didn’t get fired–I surrendered to the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.
Maybe I’ll move to a place I’ve always dreamed could exist, where bad days are simply bad and not terrible and horrible, where work sucks but at least you make a living wage working for a manager who gets half of it and doesn’t accuse you of making her day more terrible and horrible.
I had terrible nightmares that scared me last night, well before my Great Guy got home from his always opposite shift to mine at 2 a.m., and long after I had stopped counting the days until we might have a day off together again, because contrary to being fired, I am on the schedule for 9 days in a row, call time 6 a.m. for the foreseeable future, as others are granted later start times and vacation when they choose it. Disciplinary action wears many disguises.
I think I’ll move to Australia. And when I don’t, maybe I’ll just take a hard look at the sum total of where I am and vow to finally move on, if only in spirit. A girl can dream, right?