Saturday, November 3, 2007

The streak is over.

There were two things that as a freelancer, I had always been proud of, perhaps somewhat irrationally. The first was that I had not taken a sick day since 1999. It's simple: I don't have a regular employer. I call in sick, I run the risk of screwing up an event, making a judge continue a hearing, pissing off my colleagues, or my client simply may not call me again. You really don't want to get a reputation as a flake. I've gone to work sick and just sucked it up, and a couple of times I was so hoarse that I really had no business working. That streak finally came to an end last year. In the end, I was more upset about it than anyone else. It was one of my regular clients, who was very understanding, and there were plenty of my colleagues around to pick up the slack. What upset me the most was that I wasn't even sick. My niece, who was here to babysit the boys, became violently ill, and my husband had fractured his foot over the weekend and was in a splint and on crutches. Definitely unable to take care of two seven-month olds. So I stayed home and tended to two babies, my niece and husband. Last Woman Standing.

The other thing I'd never done was double-booked myself. Finally, last Monday, I got that call. As I got off the subway to go to one job, I got the message from another client that said, "Where are you? Because you're supposed to be HERE." I still have no idea what happened. I'm so careful about updating my Palm, and I just do what it tells me to.

The first assignment was short, so I did go to the second one. I practically ran the twenty minutes to the subway station. They were short-staffed when I got there. I was stuck in a courtroom for an hour and a half with no replacement. It was also the day of a friend's funeral, too sudden and far away for me to attend. So I was sad, stressed and out of sorts. In all, a bad, bad day.

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