And then I got a flat tyre
I am trying to get used to having two part time jobs and still being available for everyone on the same basis as before. This week I tried to do too much.
I am teaching students on a journalism module at the local university. Despite my nerves - I have never taught anything before - I thoroughly enjoyed the first seminar I held. It was a great relief to get the first over and done with and to realise that I could actually stand in front of a group and teach them something. The next day I had three more seminars lined up in the morning. I had a bottle of water ready in my bag with all my other accoutrements ready for the seminars, because I knew I would probably get hoarse. I also had a sensible pair of boots for driving and walking in.
I had received a text from a friend reminding me of our usual meeting at a coffee-shop on a Thursday morning. I knew I would have a small window between making sure one and only son had set off to school and arriving at the university to take up my teaching duties that morning.
So I frantically re-checked my bag, looked for the car keys and made sure I had my glasses. I calculated I would have around 20 minutes for a cup of tea, round of toast and a natter before having to set off for the university. I drove past the coffee-shop looking for a space to park. I didn't want to fork out for the pay and display meter so I drove a little further down the hill and found a space on the road. As I manoeuvred into the space I hit the kerb sharply with the tyre. I sorted myself out, parked properly, got out and headed quickly towards the coffee-shop. The place was almost deserted. I ordered my regular tea and a round of toast and marmalade. I grabbed a newspaper because I didn't want to look like a billy-no-mates waiting for others to show up. After 20 minutes nobody else had arrived, so I reluctantly left and walked towards the car, scanning other cars for my mates.
I reached my car. Guess what? Flat tyre. And all my own fault too. Recriminations began immediately. Why had I even bothered? Nobody had turned up. Was I not worth turning up for? Then I realised I was in a pickle. A big pickle. It was rush hour and my students would be expecting me at 9.30am. I had the key to the classroom to pick up, etc, etc. I was going to have to leave the car and ring a taxi. I gabbled some quick instructions down my mobile to a taxi firm. I would have to ring the recovery firm later. But then it dawned on me that I was parked in a residents only space and I would become fair game for a parking ticket at 10.30am. Now I was seriously annoyed with myself. I have never had a parking ticket or a driving fine, a record I was proud of. What was I do to?
Hastily, I found a piece of paper and wrote in big blue letters 'Flat tyre, front left. 8.40am. Had to get taxi to work. Sorry.' And stuck it under the wipers. I wondered about putting in brackets 'woman driver' because I was so desperate to avoid a £60 ticket, but I didn't. I was fed up. I knew I would have to fork out for a new tyre and I could see any profit from my new second job disappearing before I'd even set foot in the classroom.
The taxi driver got me there on time and I did all the seminars. But the annoyance level was raised when I realised I didn't have my oyster card to get the discount on the two buses I had to get on to get back. The money total was racking up all the time.
I got home and arranged with the breakdown recovery to meet at 5pm. When I arrived, I discovered that I had not received a ticket. Commonsense and compassion had apparently prevailed. I was very thankful, but reasoned that I deserved it. The recovery man changed the tyre and I went home without further ado.
Next day before setting off to Kwik-fit, we found the spare tyre was flat so the husband had to pump it up with the bicycle pump. It got us there. He hasn't been too scathing about my misdemeanour. I confessed it was all my fault - which it was - but luckily he'd had a slight bump with white van man (husband's fault) and had had to fork out considerably more than my misdemeanour would cost only two months earlier. So maybe I was at least lucky to have hit that kerb after his misdemeanour and not before!