I have never known anything like it.
This is madness defined.
In my life, I have had plenty of friends who are self-employed. They generally provide services in the home – plasterers, electricians, carpenters, chimney sweeps, that kind of caper.
When a self-employed person makes their living selling things door to door, there is no expectation that said door will even be answered, as such I do not refer to people who sell goods when I speak of this madness.
People who provide a service need to know that the person they are providing the service to is actually there and willing to have said service provided.
This morning, Aimée went to work at the shop: I know, these are exciting times in which we live.
I had had a rather late night because after her email was hacked, Aimée lost all her achievements on the Xbox and the world might have ended.
Having grown up on Whack-A-Mole, and a borrowed Atari when I was eleven and almost broke my wrist ice skating, I am not much cop at video games. At least, I have no inherent skill for the bang-bang-shoot-em-up ones. I am more suited to things like Fable and DragonAge, something a little bit medieval, with battles against imagined creatures and some level of magical ability. It suits my style.
So, I was battling a dragon deep into the small hours, trying to bolster Aimée’s achievements in a silly game, achieving little of any real worth.
By the time I got to bed, she was due up for work in three hours. I am not tall (I make up for it in width) however, I managed to check the doors and windows with remarkable stealth. I have clearly missed my calling as a ninja.
So, I was asleep. Aimée went to work and all was well with the world.
And then Doobie started barking. He does this every morning from lord-knows-what-o’clock because people ride their horses past my driveway, they talk to their neighbours or the postman on the corner of my road, they live their lives. Doobie objects to this.
Slightly awake, at that point where you can’t really call yourself awake or asleep because of the bedroom curtains (think Schrödinger’s cat but with a lesbian in a bungalow), and the doorbell went. Indeed, it was ten o’clock but still, I didn’t fully exist in either state, so I couldn’t be expected to know how late it was.
I was almost to the door when the car drove off. A sparkle of silver and estate in length.
Aimée’s driving instructor.
Now, here’s where I get confused: Aimée communicates with her driving instructor, and indeed the rest of the world, via email. They have an agreement that if Aimée can’t make a lesson, she will give her instructor at least twenty-four hours’ notice or she’ll be obliged to pay for the time regardless. This makes sense as her instructor can’t just block off a couple of hours for a student only to find herself twiddling her thumbs in a lay-by, unpaid, so I have no issue with that.
The problem is simple. Since leaving the Legion, Aimée’s time has been freed up undeniably, and so she has taken more shifts at the shop. This, although relatively lucrative in a minimum wage sort of way, also means that she’s not always in the house.
However, she checks her emails regularly, and when there’s a conflict between work, life, and a possible lesson, she lets her driving instructor know with plenty of notice. I’ve watched her. I have to have some entertainment.
There are often forty-eight hours between the email reply and the possible lesson.
And yet, her driving instructor appears on my driveway at the cancelled time, only to complain that Aimée doesn’t check her emails when I know damn well she’s got that a little bit backwards.
My brain hurts largely because, if a workman said he could do ten o’clock on Saturday, he wouldn’t just turn up on the off-chance that was a good time. He would check with his customer.
With a phone line fed through a patch of knitted trees, my phone doesn’t always work. There is no mobile signal until you get to the nearest town. The driving instructor takes the proffered lesson as accepted because she doesn’t check her spam box.
To me, the answer is obvious. They’re going to have to actually talk, like people.
Since the time of writing, we have arrived at an impasse in the power play. Aimée missed a lesson she didn’t know about, so her instructor cancelled the next lesson, without telling her.
There are easier ways to not make money – I can recommend writing.