I was in a client meeting last Thursday when I suddenly noticed the time on a colleague’s watch.
“Excuse me, but it is really four o’clock?” I asked him, panic already flooding my veins like ice water
“Would you be kind enough to excuse me for a moment?” I asked, backing away from the table as the panic escalated into a five-alarm siren. I grabbed my phone, dialed frantically, and, in my haste, misdialed.
It was my day to pick Rowan up from school — at 2:30.
I tried our number again, and again it didn’t go through. Where was he? Had Rachel figured things out and gone to collect him? Dial again, hit the “4” twice by accident. Dammit — slow down. Dial again — hit the “8” instead of the “4” — idiot! Idiot! Idiot! Idiot! Should I just run over to the school now? The client, a round, middle-aged woman with greying hair, looked on, concerned. “I forgot to pick up my son from school,” I announced to the room. I dialed again, with shaking fingers — okay, got the correct sequence — and a recorded voice telling me to please hang up and try my call again. “Isn’t there a goddamn phone that works in this office?” I yelled. He could be wandering the streets by now. “Here,” I said, shoving the phone into the hands of the big-eyed receptionist: “Here. You call for me.” I dictated the numbers, and she punched them in, and still nothing happened.
“I left my son at school,” I wailed, punching at the phone, the numbers shifting out of my reach. “I left him at schooooooooooooooooool.”
And then Rachel woke me up.