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I’m always eight minutes late to work, not because I can’t get it together on time but, simply because all my clocks are conveniently eight minutes slow. Most other people I know would just change their clocks or mentally add the eight minutes and arrive on time. ( As I do for everything except work) Not me. It relates to my whole mind-set. If I change all my clocks forward those eight precious minutes, I just might find myself arriving on time every day and losing more than just eight simple minutes. Although, I know I won’t arrive on time, because I actually arrived on time one day.

I changed all my clocks forward by eight minutes and found that I really don’t enjoy being to work on time. The complete eight minutes that I was now given to work left me thinking about all of the things I could have accomplished before rushing through the door to crowds of people, most of them saying “dam,” and finding it terribly funny.

Eight minutes later, I rush in the door three to four afternoons a week and appreciate those few extra minutes I had to collect myself before plunging into the chaos that reins. The locals never fail to ask how I am. I always say “good,” whether that’s true or not. They always respond with a simple “good” and go back to their coffee which is always hot, though not entirely fresh. No one complains, they just pick up the newspaper that’s lying on the counter, used and rumpled; search through the stack, create a little more disarray in a place that’s already quite disarrayed and gives a little smile or chuckle every time some young child or tourist bellows “dam,” simply because they can in a place called The Dam Diner.

All afternoon people come pouring into the diner, rapidly blinking from the lack of light, oohing and aahing over the combination of 40s and rustic Vermont decor. When they regain consciousness, begin reciting every joke they can think of involving the word “dam.” The combination of cheesy decor and cluttered darkness doesn’t mean that the food isn’t good or that the locals lack spice. I’ve been told that it’s the best “dam” food anyone has had in a long time, and the locals are some of the most colorful people I’ve ever had the chance to meet.

A year ago the locals terrified me, the word “dam” was barely in my vocabulary (except in times of reference or emergency), and I had never seen so much fried food in my life. Boot-camp reined in the kitchen and eternal chaos seemed to harbor itself in the dining room. My evening consisted of simply hiding from the customers that I was sure would send death stares my way when they found out that I was terrified of them; just as dogs go after people who happen to have that particular phobia. I was convinced that usually happy customers would simply hate me just because of the fact that I happened to be their waitress. Not only that, but I had to include the word “dam” and a few jokes in my new found role.

Before this period, my clocks were always on time and I often found myself arriving a few minutes early. Now I am always eight minutes late.

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