Another short piece, this time on the theme of work (loosely).
Today was a pretty great day at work: let me tell you about it.
I woke up as usual at the crack of dawn, ready to face any challenges that would come my way. I leaped out of bed and since I was up so early I decided to go for a run. The park next to my house looked great in the early morning sun, peaceful, no one else around, just a couple of songbirds chirping happily in the trees. I ran a few laps and when I checked my watch I realised that wow, that last one was a personal best! Tokyo 2020, here I come!
I jogged back home and arrived to the smell of a delicious breakfast being cooked for me by my boyfriend. That’s odd, I thought, he never gets up this early!
“Hey, baby,” I said as I came in through the veranda from the garden side of the two-storey Victorian house we’d bought together the year before. “Is that for me?” He turned to me, frying pan in hand, a smile on his face.
“Thought I’d surprise you with a hearty breakfast. I know you have that big meeting today.” The table was already laid and everything. What a sweetheart!
After my delicious breakfast, I jumped in the shower and five minutes later I was ready to go. By now it was clear that it was going to be a beautiful sunny day. “You know what”, I said to myself, “Screw the commute, I’ll cycle!” I hopped on my new bike – fast as lightning, worth every penny of its two-thousand- pound price tag – and set off for the office.
It was early and the roads were clear so the air was nice and fresh – not an everyday occurrence in a big city – and where I crossed paths with someone in a car, they all slowed down and waved me through. What great people! They must be having mornings as good as mine too! After a brief but pleasant chat with a taxi driver at a traffic light – yeah, those Uber drivers, a pain on the road but I’m sure they’re nice guys – I arrived at my destination.
I was the first one in the office so I switched on the coffee machine and ran through the pitch one last time. We’d done a lot of prep so I had a good feeling about this!
Half an hour later, the office started to fill up and my phone rang: it was Dave the secretary: the clients were here having coffee in the boardroom, but, oh no, my boss was stuck in traffic! Could I do the pitch alone? Any other day the idea would have scared me but today I was feeling good so I said: “You know what, sure, I can do it!” I straightened my tie and headed to the boardroom.
The clients were a tough bunch, formal and curt in their sharp, dark, suits and firm handshakes, but by the end of the show I had them eating out of my hand and even got a round of applause. The CEO handed me her card afterwards, telling me to get in touch if I was ever looking to change roles, or if I ever, you know, wanted to grab a drink or something. I gave her a smile, shook hands again, walked them out the office and waved them off in a taxi.
When my boss finally made it into the office half an hour later, she called me into a meeting room.
“Hey, look, I’m really grateful you were able to cover. I wish I could have been there to see the pitch. It sounds like you did a great job – I just got an email: they’ve already decided and they’re going to go with us!”
I was as pleased as I was amazed.
“Hey, that’s fantastic! Really good news, I’m so glad!”
My boss still looked like she had some really great news, but what could it be?
“Well, it’s all thanks to you, and you know what, I just spoke to the powers that be and they agreed with me: we’re making you senior lead on this project. Congratulations, it’s yours and you deserve it!”
Wow, senior lead! Now I’d have my own office and everything!
After that it was lunch and I decided to take my team out to celebrate. Everyone was really thrilled for me.
“You deserve it!”
“You’re a great boss.”
“You’re going to nail this, I just know it!”
“You look great today!”
I was so happy and in the moment that it took me completely by surprise when the waiter appeared out of nowhere with a cake on a silver platter, announcing:
“Congratulations! We have just entered you into a prize draw as our one millionth customer, and we’re pleased to announce you’ve won a six-figure cash prize! Here’s your cheque!”
I was gob-smacked! This was literally the best day ever! I grabbed my phone, went outside, and called my boyfriend.
“Hey, guess what…you are never going to believe me…wait, what’s that noise? Just a sec, I can’t hear you.” I held the phone away from my ear, looking around for a police car or ambulance, for the source of the noise that was suddenly blaring through the street. It was high-pitched, mechanical, almost painful, but no one else seemed to notice. The people around me were all acting normal: walking, talking, laughing and smiling like nothing was happening.
Meanwhile, I had dropped my phone and had my hands pressed against my ears. The sound was getting more intense, driving through my skull. Where was it coming from!? I began flailing around, falling to the floor and writhing around in desperation.
One of my flailing arms knocked my alarm clock right off my bedside table. Wiping the sleep out of my bleary eyes, I got up, showered, had some cereal for breakfast, fed the cat, then walked to the tube station in the rain, my coat done up against the cold.