Is It Ever Worth Being Late For Work?


Now read on.

In all the time I was employed by others, I don’t think I ever wanted to go to work. And I’m not alone. A one time sister-in-law declared (with some feeling) that “all jobs are sh*te” and many agreed with her.

…I tried everything to slow the trip; walking part of the way; getting a later tram; not buying tickets at opportune times; riding past the stop and so on. Later on and driving to work, I bought underpowered cars; moved to live in inaccessible places – villages that had unreliable level crossings or were regularly snowbound in winter.

The cars were slow and funny and the journeys themselves became proving grounds for gear changing without use of the clutch or setting off in third gear and so on. It was more interesting than work.

Looking back now, the last years of work were marked by a series of dismally grey unimaginative and dithering new managers; each one being slightly less competent than the one they replaced. It was dire. In particular, it became miserable leaving the village bathed in bright spring and summer sunshine and this brought it home that it really was a waste of time.

One day, setting off in a specially-chosen slow-moving vehicle and turning down a particularly narrow and bumpy long-way-round lane, I spied crows gathering by the roadside. That usually meant that a little animal was run-over and they were about to fight over and feast on the carrion. But seeing neither carcass nor crowding, went on defying synchromesh and wondering if stopping over a long distance without using the brakes was scientifically efficient. (It wasn’t)

The next day and off again: down the same road and saw the crows again. This time, they were sitting on the hedgerow and looking at the road. What was going on here?

And then – all became clear.

The crows had detached green ears of wheat from the field and had placed them all on the road. As the cars ran over them, the wheat was detached and then what?

Ignoring the possibility of more unusual grinding gear changes and brakeless stops, I pulled up; reversed over the ears of wheat and drove off a little way, then came the reward.

The crows jumped down from the hedge and pecked away at the wheat grains until they were gone. The following day, the same.

And yes, I was very late for work.  I walked out the following December.

As for clutchless gear changes, I can take them or leave them.

Usually, the former.

Here is W H Davies on the subject:

WHAT is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?—

No time to stand beneath the boughs,
And stare as long as sheep and cows:

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass:

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night:

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance:

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began?

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.


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