Sunday, September 24, 2006

Thank You Sir May I Have Another

I enrolled in this program at this school because it was a) reasonably close to where I live and b) it would give me enough hours to be eligible for New York Licensing.

I didn't learn until I was almost 1/3 of the way through the program that the New York State Licensing exam is only offered twice a year. As soon as I learned the test was offered in January, I felt better. I graduate in October. No problem.

Not too long after that, my class learned that in order to be able to sit for the January licensing exam, New York State must receive all our paperwork, including the official program completion notice from the school, by November first. This caused some nervousness, but we were assured that we would graduate on October 26th. We'd just barely make the deadline by one week.

My class learned about two weeks ago that, thanks to an error on the school's part, we will not graduate until November 6th.

We panicked.

There is only one class holding things up. That instructor is sympathetic. He's basically a great guy. He agreed to meet with us on the weekends, so we can complete that extra week of class early, and still complete the program on time. We all agreed to check our calendars and schedule something soon.

A couple of Tuesdays ago, on September 5th, I got into a car accident. I was driving G's car. It wasn't my fault, and it wasn't serious, but it was the first accident I've ever been in, and I was quite shaken up for some time. It took a week of making official statements with the insurance company and dealing with the approved local auto fix-it shop before the whole situation ended. I missed two mornings worth of work (and pay) dealing with that, and grew several grey hairs. I wasn't injured, insurance covered the repairs, and everything is now fine. But damn.

Last Tuesday night was the night my class scheduled the makeup classes. We scheduled one for yesterday (Saturday, 9/23), one for today (Sunday, 9/24) and one for next Sunday (9/30).

Last Tuesday night at about 8pm, I was informed of my unceremonious booting from the temp job.

Then, about 1/2 hour later, we scheduled the classes.

Wednesday night, I had a Pathology test.

Thursday, I received a bill for just under $700 from a collection agency. Apparently I never paid an ambulance bill from February of '05. I never paid it because they never sent me the bill, even though I called and asked for it twice after the date of service. I stated that to the agency, and insisted they put that on record. They agreed. G sent them a check for the full amount yesterday... but that's a pretty pile of coins, and every time we have a major expense crop up, I see my wedding date disappearing farther and farther into the future.

Friday night was Yom Kippur. I remember being depressed that the local temple charges $500 per couple to attend that service. We made a nice little holiday for ourselves at home, but I remember feeling somewhat excluded from a lot of things, in a rather universal way.

Saturday, I completely forgot about the class.

At about 2pm I got a phone call from my classmate Ally. I didn't pick up because my phone was on silent - I'd forgotten to turn on the ringer. I got the message about two hours later, and immediately called Ally back. She sounded grim. "Nobody came," she said. "Nobody showed up. I was the only one who came."

"Holy Crap," I said, my stomach churning. "Oh God."

I mean, we knew Penny and Vic would be late, they have to work today," Ally continued. I could hear her puffing her cigarette. "Everyone else just didn't show. The teacher is pissed. I mean he's really pissed."

My heart sank. My knees buckled. "We're fucked, Ally. We are so fucked. All of us. Fucked."

"He canceled ALL our makeups. He said he's nobody's babysitter, and that we could all graduate late, take the exam next August, and it's not his problem."

I don't know how I kept from throwing up. I wanted to call the teach right then and apologize, but Ally warned me not to. My head swam. All the seventeen- and eighteen-hour days. Rendering myself unemployable during the holidays last year, because of my insistence on leaving jobs by 4:30. My complete disappearance from life, from my friends, even from my relationship. For this.

Somehow I managed to tell G about my amazingly awful brain fart. Possibly the worst fuck-up I have ever committed in my life. G did not yell and scream at me, but he is furious. Not so much at me as at the school, for putting my class in this situation to begin with. He's got a point, but I don't trust the administration to see things that way.

I called my classmate Vic. He knew. He had showed up just in time to see Ally and hear the bad news. He suggested I apologize like crazy on Monday, and maybe the teacher will show leniency, given the fact that I've never missed class or clinic the entire time I've been in school. "Give teach a couple of days, maybe Monday he'll cool down."

When I hung up, my cell phone rang. It was Penny. "It's gonna be ok, Ouiser." I cried into the phone. I ranted and raved. "We're gonna figure this out, Ouiser," Penny said soothingly. She and I brainstormed on what we might be able to do about this - sit in on some morning classes, work extra clinic shifts, whatever they ask.

When I go into class on Monday, I'm going to get there early, lick my teacher's feet, offer to wash his car with my toothbrush, and tell him how horrible I feel that he had to waste his time on a beautiful Saturday, and apologize for being a complete flake at the worst possible time. I might ever-so-slightly allude to the fact that I've been a little distracted lately, but I'm not going to harp on it. I'm not going to make excuses for myself. I'm just going to grovel.

This is no joke. I have worked too hard for this. We all have, but nobody's worked harder than Me, Ally, Vic and Penny. We are all honor's students. Ally showed up, Vic and Penny had pre-approved excuses for not being there on time. I'm the only fuck-up, and I've never fucked up before. Not allowing me to graduate on time, even if I work extra clinic shifts, even if I sit in on day classes - that punishment doesn't fit the crime.

All day today, I keep thinking of this tarot reader I met last year. She could see that I was exhausted and emotionally broken from all I'd been through with my old job, the temp agencies, the loss of my apartment, and my numerous failed efforts to build something out of my life. I told her that I had just started Massage Therapy School - that this was my latest attempt to live a constructive, happy, productive life. I told her that I was depressed, because I 'd had too many disappointments. I had no reason to believe the 15 grand in student loans I'd just taken out would be worth anything. That I was afraid that, like everything else, something would come along and screw this up for me. Or I'd make one false move and ruin it for myself.

That nice lady took my hands and told me I needed to relax, refocus, and trust. She said it was time for me to do the work I knew I needed to do, and then trust that the Universe would step in and play it's part.

Stupid bitch.

Oh no - I meant me. I was the stupid bitch. I actually believed her.


Judy said...

Forgive yourself. Everyone is entitled to forget something that is out of the ordinary, which would be this class. You've got so much going on - it happens. Maybe you should take some time to breathe and reboot...

Knottyboy said...

Holy holy holy lord...OMFG twice and thrice over hon. You should believe yourself. That you and you alone are the architect of this life you're living. You will graduate with honors. These things that throw flags up are there to make sure that you are serious about the time and energy you spend on something you love and desire more than anything. You're gonna be fine, you're one hell of a strong woman. You go girl!!!!