My groggy eyes open. I wonder what time it is. Waking up on my own I feel surprisingly awake for the meager amount of hours I slept. I pick up my phone. It had turned off overnight. Great. I turn it on. 4:08 a.m.
That’s not good.
After three weeks on the road, I was back in my bed in D.C. The previous night around 10 I was too tired to do anything functional (like pack) that I decided to hit the hay, setting my alarm for 2:30 a.m. to give myself plenty of time to pack, shower, and get ready for Super Shuttle to come at 4:05 a.m.
4:05 a.m., that’s right, I woke up PAST the time my ride was supposed to come. There are few situations in my life where there was no time to panic. This was one of them.
I plug in my phone. It rings and I pick it up. “Hello?” An automated voice message comes on, “This is a message from your driver telling you that he will arrive in five minutes. For the courtesy of other customers, please be ready outside waiting for your driver.”
“OK, thank you.”
I pick-up my carry-on and rush to my drawers. I pick up the familiar collar shirts I’ve been sporting the past month and a handful of white tees not even counting them. Throw them in. I throw a couple additional t-shirts and add them. I pick up a wad of boxers, socks, throw them in. A pair of nice khakis are on the floor from unpacking. Throw those in. Where are my jeans?
Catholic Volunteer Network table cloth that I washed the day before---throw it in. I proceed to my book bag. Stuff in my computer and notes for Missouri. I thank God that I’m only gone for a week this time otherwise I’d have to be a little bit more prepared.
I run to the bathroom where my toothbrush is out of my toiletries bag. I look at my unwashed, unshaven face. Don’t got time, sorry for anyone who I see this morning. I pack everything up and throw it in the carry-on.
Phone rings again. “Hello?” Automated message again: “Your driver has arrived and is waiting outside.”
“OK, just a minute.”
I’m still just in my boxers. Where are my jeans? I throw on a pair of corduroys laying out, sock up my feet. I glance at my Panthers jersey hanging up for my Sunday ritual attire and realize I had already packed all of my plain white tees. Sorry Carolina, you’ll have to win this one without me. I throw in my other favorite white shirt I wear from the Philippines I wear frequently.
Ah, hat! The secret of my success. And to hide my dumb haircut. I’m still upset that my guy cut my sides so short yesterday. Where was Lelys, why did she leave, and how did no one at the barber shop not have her number? “No más,” the woman at the counter had said when I asked where my favorite barber was. Rude-R-Us.
I remember I put my hat in my closet. I open it, grab it, and quickly glance at my hangers of pants. Where are my jeans? I’ve been talking about this hay ride I’m going to be joining in on with students at University of Missouri Science and Technology and I sure don’t want to wear any nice pants on that night. No sign of jeans, and no sign of my go-to-comfortable-go-out shoes. I opt for my less- comfortable-dressier-I-look-good-in-them-but-I-hurt shoes.
I throw on a light jacket that I picked up from the Waiver wire (i.e. bought yesterday, Fantasy Football has taken over my life), I add on a dressier, heavier black jacket I had picked up from home. For a second there, I think, wow, I don’t look half bad.
Phone rings again. Oy, I bet that’s the actual driver. “Hello?” It is. He says in an Indian accent, “Is your home under construction?” He must be talking about how the building is covered in white construction covering as they’re working on the windows. Too bad for him that the entire two blocks of condominiums are covered in these white sheets.
“Uh, yeah. Sorry, I’ll be out in a second. I’m coming out right now.”
I jam my phone and wallet in my pockets. I zip up my carry-on and my bookbag. As I’m bending over my bookbag, I think, “I’m forgetting something. I know I’m forgetting something. I must be forgetting something. What am I forgetting?” For the longest time in high school, whenever I went on a weekend retreat or camping or even the beach, I always forgot my towel. I remember those days of borrowing a friend’s wet towel or drying myself off with my dirty t-shirt. Never again do I forget my towel. I felt like I was missing something equivalent to a towel.
I can’t think of it. I put on my back pack, pick up my Catholic Volunteer Network banner with my left hand, and roll out my carry-on with my right.
I tell the driver, “Sorry, I literally woke up 10 minutes ago.”
It was then I realized that I had woken up on my own without my alarm. Had to be angels. Thank you, God.
Life on the road, Catholic Volunteer Network.
Matt Aujero, signing off.