I’ve given up on trying to explain why i’m late to work. It’s not as if i’m not one to make excuses, because i am, It’s just that sometimes i know even before i speak that i’d be better off keeping my mouth shut.
Today i was ten minutes late. When asked, i gave the easy answer: i missed my bus. However, i know exactly why i was really late: because of my hamster.
Last night i was kept tossing and turning by something scratching my leg. Was it my blanket? Did i leave guitar strings on the bed? After almost an hour of intermittent sleep i finally sat up and flung the covers from my bed only to find Peaches contentedly nibbling on a sunflower seed.
A chase ensued, with me toppling chairs and guitars in my fury, and she hiding underneath any conveniently low piece of furniture. I finally nabbed her and tossed her back into her cage. Afterwards i settled down to try to salvage a good night’s sleep … which only lasted forty minutes before i again found myself playing the part of a rodent track-and-field stadium.
I promptly picked her up by the nape of her neck, tossed her into her cage through her still-open door, shut it, wired it closed with twist-ties (which she immediately began to chew through), and then constructed a clumsy (but effective) barricade against the front of her cage using a bandana, half-assembled habitrail tubes, and an empty box of tissues.
It was only then, totally awake and wired from my duty as impromptu hamster warden and too hot and bothered to get comfortable on my mattress, that i dragged my pillow and sheet to the floor in front of my air conditioner.
My rest was marred by my constant state of alertness whenever i heard a potential nibble or imagined something brushing up against my leg. This, in addition to the fact that i was now across the room from my alarm clock and under a mess of machine-white noise, led to my eventual awakening, naked and unshaven, at 7:59 this morning — a mere thirty-one minutes away from the time that i am supposed to arrive at my desk. And, despite the fact that i was dressed and out of the house in a record nine minutes, i still missed the bus that would have delivered me to work on time, leaving me stranded on the corner of 44th and Chestnut for another ten minutes — enough time to catch another bus, and not coincidentally the amount of time i was late.
Like i said, it was my hamster.