Thursday, 9 June 2011

Shayne's Day #83: The one with the strike

I was not scheduled to work today and I laid in bed till 8:30 just hoping and praying that I wasn't called in last minute. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love supply teaching and am enjoying it immensely (I also really love the travel money!). However, I have not adjusted to the early morning calls yet. So far, most of my jobs have been pre-scheduled a few days in advance. Therefore, I have had time to plan and prep when I need to get up, which train I need to take, and what I will be doing with the kids. I know if I need to have on my strict/5th grade/Mrs. Singleton outfit or my comfy/crawling on the floor/preschool/Ms. Shayne clothes. The last minute calls are a tiny bit tough. And when I say "calls" I really mean "call." I have technically only had to do this once, so I don't have much of a reason to complain. But let me tell you, that one morning was not fun! With no alarm set I needed to fly out of bed all groggy, jump in the shower, and run to the train station. The whole day just felt a bit jumbled and I was hoping today would not need to be round 2.

When the clock ticked 8:31, I breathed a sigh of relief, got out of bed with a smile, and felt like a child who just learned they were having a snow day. While I brushed my teeth, I brainstormed all of the wonderful things to do with my day...go have coffee and read (I knew my new book from was waiting in our mailbox!!!), hit up the art store, clean the house, get some laundry done...all of the time today would really open up our weekend. So, I mosied out to the living room to put on my shoes. That is when I heard the commotion.

I couldn't imagine what was going on! There was yelling and shouting at first. Then there was laughing. It sounded like a block party. A few thoughts went through my mind: There was a street market on Almeida St.! The Almeida Theater was having an outdoor show. The lovely guy next door who plays BLARING classical music all day was having a performance. Perhaps, ALL OF LONDON came to our street to hang out! Am I trapped on my street? Did we barricaded in? Can I not go have coffee? Was there a fire? Was there an accident? Is my phone on? Oh my gosh, is Jake ok! Don't you love how my mind started to wonder!

I put on my brave face and a pair of shoes and went to check things out. Of course, I grabbed a bag of trash on my way up - wouldn't want to waste a trip or look like I was snooping. I arose from our basement flat to find about 150 postal workers standing outside of our house. Some people were sitting on the steps to 24 Almeida and one guy was leaning on the gate down our stairwell. Turns out, the Royal Mail Postal Service that is right next door had some sort of uprising.

While I pretended to get our mail (realizing only after the fact how silly this was!), I got dirty looks from the employees dressed in blue in red and carrying mail bags. The crowd seemed seemed civil and there was no hostility present. In fact, the people actually looked as happy as I was to have a day off! The neighborhood lurker (me) decided to check around and see what was going down.
As I stepped over four people to get inside our gate I asked, "What is going on?"
One lady said, "Oh yeah, sorry for the commotion outside your house!"
The guy next to her said, "The postal service is on strike."
All I could think was, "I am NEVER going to get my book!"
However, I responded with, "Wow, what happened?"
And here it is...the response to end all responses...the glimpse into british culture...the peek at the work ethic in the UK...the reason I need to make tea and biscuits every time our maintenance man comes over...the reason for the computer nemesis at the doctors...the basis for the bloody 7:1 ratio!....
"Well, this morning, our boss yelled at an employee for being late again! He was "bullying" him for "no reason!" We took a stand!!!"
I stood there for a minute processing in disbelief : late AGAIN, no reason, bullying??? What the hell!
All I could think was, "GIVE ME MY BOOK!!!!"
Instead, I rolled my eyes and walked downstairs. The peeping tom in me grabbed our camera and photographed the scene through the rod iron bars while standing on our couch. So, now I sit, 15 minutes later, finishing this blog while the crowd chants, "He was just late, raise our rate" and "Don't be a bully, pay us fully!"

Lesson Learned: My book will not be waiting for me in the mail today.

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