Get Ready, Folks, 'Cause This Is The Greatest Late-To-Work Excuse You've Ever HeardCommentary • workplace • Opinion • ISSUE 39•30 • Aug 6, 2003 By Matt Harnack Matt Harnack Okay, people. You are not going to believe why I'm late today. Sheila? Come on in here. Sorry about this, but you gotta get in here. Shondra? Harold? Can you hear me over there? Maybe you should move a little closer. Get Emmelyn in here, too. I don't want anyone to miss this. In fact, get Colleen on speaker phone. She's going to love this. Okay. Is everyone here? Good. This shouldn't take long. I know you thought you'd heard it all a couple weeks ago, when I was late because my fish flopped out of the tank. Then there was the time in February, when I was halfway to work, spilled hot coffee all over myself, and had to go to the doctor. Whoo! That was no fun. Oh, and last Monday: I forgot my work keys, went home to get them, got back to the office, and realized I had the wrong set. I won't even mention the Bee Allergy False Alarm, the Zipper Crisis, or the now-famous Cardigan Incident. You've heard the rest, and now here's the best. I hope your shoes are tied, because this is going to knock your socks off! Are you ready? You sure? Here we go, coworkers. You all know how I get to work, right? Train to the bus, walk four blocks, and I'm there. Well, I've been thinking that I should get more exercise, so I decided to alter my route a little. Instead of taking the train to the bus, I decided to take the train to the Grant Avenue stop, transfer to another train, and then walk seven blocks. Oh, come on in, Kyle. Grab a seat. So, it's train a little farther, transfer, walk seven blocks. It would only take five minutes longer than my usual route, and I'd squeeze in a little exercise. At least, that's how it would go under perfect conditions. But when do things ever go perfectly? Are you all still with me? I don't want to lose anyone and have to back up and repeat myself. That wouldn't be fair to everyone else. Anyway, I was on the train headed downtown to Grant Avenue but, since I was breaking my usual routine, I got confused and a little panicky and went one stop too far. I don't know what was going on in my head. I got out and tried to transfer to the uptown train, but I wound up on the crosstown express. I must have been riding for 10 minutes before I recognized my mistake. Hey, can I get a water over here? I want to be in top form for the finish. Thanks, Donna, appreciate it. Okay, back in. By the time I realized what I'd done, I was already 10 minutes late. I decided, you know, screw the exercise, I've got to get to work. So I got off at the next stop and tried to catch a cab. But I was in a desolate part of town, and there weren't a lot of cabs, right? Just when I was about to give up and go back to the train, a cab pulled up out of nowhere. I thought it was my lucky day—but no trip to work could ever be so lucky. Now, hang on. It really gets sort of bizarre here. This is the part, on the way up in the elevator, that I was thinking no one would believe. Ready? Okay, let's do it. We started moving, but I could tell the driver was in some sort of mood. He was on the phone with someone, and his voice kept rising until he was in a full yell. Suddenly, he jerked the wheel, pulled over to the curb, and started screaming even louder into his phone—not even words, just screams. I thought I was going to be murdered by a cab-driving maniac! Now, assembled employees, I assure you this is all true. The driver hung up the phone, and we just sat there for a few seconds. I didn't say anything; he didn't say anything. Then he reached up, shut off the meter, and said, "No charge." I was still two blocks away from the office, but I sure as hell wasn't going to complain. I got out of the cab, and he peeled off. So I walked the two blocks, and I'm here. And there it is. Was that not an amazing series of events, culminating in my 70-minute lateness? Have you ever heard an excuse like that in this office, or in any other office, before? Has the 12th floor ever been graced with such a tale? I told you it'd be good. Was I right, or was I right? Well, see you all at lunch.