I added significantly to my stock of gray hairs yesterday, thanks to my daughter and her room mate. I was peeling along the Gardiner Expressway on my way to become for a few months, the thing I hate (I'll explain in a bit) when I got a call from my daughter Thea, who was upset. One of her room mates, in a dispute over money, was acting strangely. Thea was worried about leaving him alone in the place when she went to class. I pulled into the parking lot at Humber College, where I was due at a meeting. I'll try to find time to come downtown and see you later today, I said. Then I grabbed my briefcase and ran.
The thing I hate is a corporate guy. I have spent my adult life avoiding meetings. I would rather wait tables or sweep floors than worry about the Henderson account. But Humber, in their wisdom, asked me to babysit their writing program for a few months while Antanas is away, and I in my strapped-for-cash state said yes. So I was prepared for a day of meetings, dressed for success in matching socks and a fresh shave, not to mention a shirt with no stains, and practicing my corporate team-player smile. Yes, JB, I muttered to myself. No, JB. Three bags full, JB. Twenty minutes later, in the middle of my first meeting, my phone rang.
Hang on a minute, JB, I muttered.
It was Thea. Her room mate had gone a bit nuts and begun to vandalise the place. Couches and clothes were involved. Thea was beside herself. He's locked himself in his room now! Could you come over and kill him, Daddy? she sobbed. I felt momentarily like Tony Soprano. (A different kind of corporate guy, come to think of it. Instead of losing the Henderson account, he'd be losing Henderson.)
When my heart had stopped racing and I'd made sure that she was no in danger, I said I'd be over there as soon as I could. I told her I was glad she could make jokes. Who's joking? she said.
Quickly, because I am running out of time here, I left my meeting, raced downtown, and calmed Thea's room mate. We agreed that he'd be happier living somewhere else, packed his stuff in my car, and I drove him to a friend's. (He is not a bad guy, more goofy and impulsive. And he's just a kid. I was the calm grown up he wanted to talk to, to hear his side of the story. I actually ended up kind of liking him.) He felt sorry about the whole episode, and gave me his keys. I waved goodbye, and drove off, feeling a bit of all's well that ends well.
On my way back to my meetings, I tried to put myself in the place of the JBs of the world, and the working moms they employ. Speaking for the JBs, it's hard to run a company when your VP finance has to leave the AGM to deal with a sick kid. That was my intellect talking. My viscera were saying something else. Screw you, JB, they said. My kid is sick. And sick kids trump everything.
I'm off on my travels again, back next Wednesday. I'll post when I can (which may be next Thursday). Right now I am staring, appalled, at my gray. It's the stress, I figure. No wonder so many working moms dye their hair.