Articles

Defying Fate

In Uncategorized on March 1, 2011 by Lujayn Ali Tagged: , ,

You know when you have one of those days when it seems that you just can’t defy fate. Like when you try your best to be on time but it just doesn’t happen. I’m not talking about just being on time but actually making an effort to leave extra  early and with plenty of time to spare. Yeah. Happens to me all the time, especially when I make an extra effort to get in on time because if I’m not on time, it will be either extremely obvious or I will have missed something important.

Today I had a community paediatrics session at Sunshine House in Peckham, a large very colourful building visible from about a mile away. Only an idiot would miss it. Yes, I missed it. That would have been bad enough in and of itself but I had already been running late – through no fault of my own- because of delays on both the Picadilly and District lines that run through Victoria, which meant that I’d missed the train from Victoria and hence was late already. The clinic I was headed to was a developmental clinic, concerned with looking at children who were not developing according to the milestones. I hadnt done any prep so I had a bright idea develop in my desparation; I’d copy the milestones into my book, labelled clearly with the ages in red,  so that I could check them on the sly and I wouldn’t be late as well as stupid.

The train arrived just as I finished copying the final milestone. According to Googlemaps, walking distance form Peckham Rye station to Sunshine House is only 14 minutes. It took me more than half an hour. I got lost, asked for directions and was pointed back the way I came. Which was the wrong way and so I spent more than half an hour combing the same stretch of road for a colourful building which clearly did not exist.

My breakthrough came when I finally asked a lady with a pram. She pointed me back the way I came and said it was three bus stops away. I nearly cried, I’d just come from there. Twice! But I had to get on with it. I hopped onto the first bus and looked out for a colourful building which was just as obvious as it had been described. Not a building easily missed and so decided to keep the bit about getting lost to myself.

I ran in, almost an hour late, out of breath only to be told that the patient hadn’t arrived and they didn’t think they would be coming. Which was a relief on one hand but also slightly frustrating as it meant I wouldn’t have anything to do which would have been particularly annoying after the drama of the morning.

I was taken upstairs to the doctors office with Dr S who said we’d just go through development instead. We were about to start when we recieved word that the patient had arrived. Smiling, I went down to greet this mysterious patient with developmental problems. I stepped into the waiting room only to stop short. My developmental milestones only went up to 14months. Facing me was a 14 year old boy who had been referred because of behavioural issues. My notes were absolutely useless. I had to make it up as I went along. I blundered through the interview umming and erring and finally got through the whole thing. Perhaps the only consolation is that he had a great story, one that sparked off my creative instincts and gave me an excellent idea for my next novel.

The take-home message for me is to stop trying to be on time and go with the flow. The world conspires against me when I break my rushing-in-at-the-minute-and-hope-no-one-notices routine. I guess I’m just one of those people fated to be late and there’s nothing I can do to change that.

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