in which I hate the 5:11

My wonderful employer kicks me out of the office around 5pm each night. I know he's thinking I'm wanting to get home to my boys and I think he likes to work on his own, without me or others interrupting him for about an hour or so before he heads out and I'm usually happy to go. (I wouldn't mind staying either - I definitely should have stayed a little longer last Friday.) But this past week my boss was away on a business trip and I made my own hours - sort of.
I'm one of those compulsive people who has a time-clock in my head. I know I'm being paid for nine to five and feel like a cheater if I don't put in my 40 hours. I suppose there may come a time wherein I am perfectly happy to cheat a little here and there but I'm still new.
My morning train puts me behind my desk at 8:30 - and that's with coffee. It just works that way. I can wake the boys, get their lunch sorted and sometimes even iron a blouse. I'm lucky because there's an express train just after I drop them at school and three stops later I'm in town. My boss doesn't usually come in until after nine so I have time to go through emails, check his daily appointments and feel prepared when he gets there.
But back to this past week: figuring out when to leave, while sitting there on my own all day, was not so easy. You see, when my boss is in, my job is busybusybusy. All day long I field emails and phone calls and scores of people who need to see him RIGHTTHATMINUTE. He frequently has back to back meetings with very little time to get from one to the next and I help get him to and from and move people in and out and try to find slots of time to deal with day to day, uh, stuff.
When he's out, my job grinds to a small halt. On Monday I did field a bunch of emails. Each morning I did check where he was supposed to be (and said small prayers that the travel arrangements I had made for him worked out) and sometimes he called in with questions. But, for the most part, I was on my own. There were a couple of times I told myself I'd leave at three and get home leisurely and relax...but I never did. Either something came up, or I imagined him, six hours away, calling in with a question that only I could answer (as if) and I stayed until five.
And that's how I discovered I hate the 5:11.
My boss usually shoos me out in time for the 5:26 - a perfect train that gets me home by 6 (ish).
On my own? I left in time to make the 5:11.
The crowd that waits on the platform for the 5:26 moves swiftly but doesn't run.
Riders of the 5:26 settle in and read their newspapers.
Riders of the 5:11 shout up and down the aisle to each other about last night's game.
Passengers on the 5:26 watch Family Guy on their iPods and chuckle quietly to themselves.
Passengers on the 5:11 have long boring conversations at high volume about their tennis club.
The 5:26ers take a little nap.
The 5:11's fart in their sleep. SITTING NEXT TO ME. TWICE.

It's a good thing my boss is back in town - and that I have that little, compulsive, time-clock in my head, because it's nice to leave early but I've learned that staying that extra 15 minutes is much more comfortable.


Anonymous said…

I can't imagine ever taking the 5:11 again.

Anonymous said…
I would have shoved Farting Sleeper right off his seat and into the aisle and perhaps onto the platform at the next station. You showed admirable restraint. Or at least I am assuming you did.
Anonymous said…
5:11 train = Type A's? (Must be first & emit noxious hot air from orifices.)
RW said…
I agree. Way better to take the 5.26 - sounds much calmer.
Not to sound sexist (which I will now do anyway)....sounds like a lot of dudes on the 5:11

My dad used to be one of those 5:26 kind of men...quiet...rolled in the door at EXACTLY 6pm every day for 44 years.
Anonymous said…
Note to self. NEVER EVER take the 5:11. No matter what.
Anonymous said…
Kathy Rogers said…
So, yeah, I think it is worth 15 minutes to avoid the shouting and farting.
smalltownme said…
I'd definitely wait the 15 minutes on purpose.
Anonymous said…
5:11 Sleeping Farters.

barbra said…
I'm more amazed that you found a pleasant train ride than that you found an unpleasant one.

I believe in public transportation, but in my experience you have to believe in it to withstand it.

Even in Portland, which has a very nice system.

(My wv is very fun to say: "obrodeho." It kind of cheers me up to say it. Obrodeho, obrodeho.)
Anonymous said…
Shout out to the 5:26.

Tip: for those days when you might be tempted to leave early (later on! when you're not new!), you could possibly forward the phone to your own phone, just for peace of mind, in case he calls. And then you can un-forward it when you are back in the office.

Anonymous said…
This was hysterically funny. Thanks for the picture of your day. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one a little compulsive about time.
Sarah said…
Maybe the 5:11 is full of guys from the 5th floor.
Dani said…
Am I the only one that thought, "Well, leave even earlier and see what the people on the 4:something are like."?

What does that say about me????
Amy A. said…
This makes me laugh. It feels good.
Annagrace said…
Farting in sleep is only cute in a baby. Otherwise...gross. Reminds me of people I've sat next to on planes and why I hate air travel.
Anonymous said…
I less than three your indignation.

Mary said…
Me ? I'm just loving the sound of Little Miss Sunshine State's Dad.
Burgh Baby said…
Note to self: 5:11 is BAD. Very bad.

And so is bus farting.
Magpie said…
I myself like the 4:20.
Unknown said…
Some great ideas in the COMMENTS section. I would leave early and forward your phone (like 3ish!)
It all reminds me of when i used to live in Chicago area and commute into the city. I miss it well a little. Now I get home and I can see the downtown city skyline from my house and know that its only 4 blocks away if i feel like going for a walk. Small cities are nice sometimes.