I suppose you might say that I'm a creature of habit: I like to do certain things at certain times. Exercise is a great example: I like to run on a Tuesday before I inject, play football on a Thursday, swim on a Friday night after work, run on a Saturday morning and swim on a Sunday night. It's not a routine that's set in stone, but I do feel slightly uncomfortable if I'm forced to deviate. I'm mildly particular about other things too. I like to eat a pizza express pizza on a Monday night, for instance. If we eat sausages, it's usually on a Thursday night. It's not a big deal if I don't (and tonight I'm having pie....mmmmm), but I definitely seem to like a little routine in my life.
I don't really have the same sort of rituals in my working life, although every day is a battle not to eat my pack lunch before about 11:30 in the morning (after which it's fair game). I take a bag of chopped carrots, celery and cucumber to try and distract myself from my sandwiches and crisps. It doesn't always work....
Since I've returned to work, one of my old housemates has started working in the same department. As he lives just round the corner from us and because we're now a one car house, I've slipped into the routine of sharing a lift into the office with him and leaving the car for C. to use as she pleases. Pretty much every working day, I get up at about 7am, if it's a Monday, Wednesday or Friday, I do my upper body strengthening exercises, then I shower, dress, make my pack lunch, have a fresh coffee and my breakfast and get myself ready for my lift at 8am. By 8.15, traffic permitting, we're generally in the office and taking it in turns to get a pot of coffee on.
Yes, I'm aware I'm sounding more and more autistic with every sentence I write.
I quite like getting into work comfortably before the working day really starts at 9am. I can clear off a few emails, have a few quick conversations and generally get myself ready for the start of any meetings I might have. Car sharing has been great at the other end of the day too, as it means that I'm forced to get ready to leave the office at about 17:30, and certainly no later than 18:00. It's a good discipline, and it's got me out of the habit of casually working long hours and leaving the office at 19:30 for no really good reason.
C. started work on Monday.
Not surprisingly, as she mostly works in the same building now as us, she has joined our little car share. Why wouldn't she? We've worked in the same building before, but we've generally avoided car sharing in the past because we work slightly different hours: I generally start my day a little earlier, and we both had unpredictable finish times. It didn't really work. We didn't try very hard to make it work, it's true, but rightly or wrongly, we settled into the routine of using both cars. This time around, we only have one car.
The first few days of our new car share worked fine: our friend was driving and we just had to make sure we were ready by 8am. When my friend and I had that away day on Tuesday, C. just biked into work. It was all good. This morning, though, Keith made his own way into work because I play football on a Thursday night and needed my car. Although she would be sharing a lift back with Keith, it obviously made sense that I took C. into the office with me.
As usual, I was ready to go by about 8am.
C. took a little longer, and it was gone 8.15 by the time we were both in the car and ready to go.... at which point C. hopped out and ran back into the house, coming back clutching a belt.
Now, I know that people are made differently. Where my whole morning routine is focused around getting ready to go to work and then leaving, C. tends to get other things done: things that I would leave until I got home, she will tackle up front. She might empty the dishwasher or the washing machine, for example. Both are tasks that I am really grateful that she does. Absolutely I am. She will also, for instance, take a little longer over her hair and appearance than I will. Again, perfectly understandable. She also, it should be said, always makes me my coffee.
....but all the same, the delay -- caffeine fix notwithstanding -- made me a little grumpy. It wasn't even that I had anything much to be at work for. My first meeting was at 9am. I just wanted to leave at 8am and was ready to go at that time. I hadn't actually bothered to say that this was my deadline to C, but every minute spent waiting after I was ready felt like an hour.
Naturally, after we did leave, we hit traffic. We might have hit traffic anyway, but clearly - in my head - we'd hit THIS traffic because we were running LATER than planned.
"You're very quiet."
"Who's this we're listening to"
"The Stooges" ('search and destroy' - great morning music or what?)
"I'm sorry I took so long to get ready"
Mature response, I'm sure you'll agree.
We parked up, went to out separate desks, and that was that. I wasn't really cross, and already I was laughing at myself to my colleagues, but I'd got grumpy with my wife because my unspoken routine had been disrupted slightly.
Of course, when I rushed out of the office this evening into the cold and the dark to get myself off to football, I managed to lose my car in the car park. I was forced to ring my wife and ask if she could remember where we'd parked when I was stropping about in the morning. She was very gracious, of course. She didn't even laugh in my face or ANYTHING.
She's a keeper. I'm just an idiot.
Reading to escape
4 days ago