Monday morning Jane woke at 6am, washed her face, brushed her teeth, fed the cat and dressed for her run. As she was putting her shoes on she noticed the soles were looking worn. Jane owned two pairs of shoes. One pair was her running shoes. The other were burgundy loafers, the same kind she had worn every day since grade school. Whenever either shoe wore out, Jane would replace them with the same pair.
Ten minutes into her run, a man walked into the room, dressed in workout gear. Jane adjusted her headphones and looked straight ahead in her usual manner, pretending not to see or hear him. But then he approached her and asked her a question, “Excuse me miss, I think you dropped this…” Jane looked at him expressionless, pointed to her headphones then turned her head away. “Miss! Ma’am!” he persisted, “Yo! Lady! I’m not trying to interrupt your run but I found a key right over there and I wanted to make sure it wasn’t yours before I turned it in.” Jane felt her pocket for her key. It wasn’t there. She looked up at the man, flustered, “Um, yeah, I think that’s mine.” She slowed and then hopped of the treadmill, reached over and took her key from his palm and walked towards the exit. “You’re welcome!” he called behind her. “Thanks,” she mumbled without turning her back as she walked out the door, breaking into a run as soon as she was clear of his line of site.
Jane arrived home 15 minutes ahead of schedule. She showered, dried her hair, and dressed 15 minutes ahead of schedule. She ate her breakfast, watched the morning news, washed her dishes, and left for work 15 minutes ahead of schedule. There was no traffic. Jane arrived to work at 7:40am. As Jane walked in the security guard looked up in surprise, he had the vague feeling he’d seen her before, but couldn’t quite place her. She was dressed head to toe in beige, but her clothes were well tailored and classically stylish. She was plain, he thought, but pretty.
Jane badged herself in, walked to her desk, sat down and started up her computer. It was about that time that Jane realized she didn’t know what to do next. For the first time in Jane’s life, she had deviated from her schedule. She sat there, sitting still in her chair until promptly 8am, upon which she thankfully resumed her schedule.