My days remain long and the more time I spend in this house, the lonelier I feel. Audrey’s lack of concern for my personal time is beginning to wear down on my (forced) daily optimism. My cheery smiles have become a meek tug of my right cheek and the pep in my step is dragging. I came to Geneva to establish a life—that is, go to work and at some point get off work and go live my own life for at least a few hours. It has become increasingly frustrating now that I have recently made two good friends and how little I get to see them is proof in the pudding. Their efforts to include me in their evening plans are greatly appreciated and makes me more excited about my days, however, my inability to show up at the usual 6:30 pm (since the only time I can manage is 9:30 pm) is killing my progress in a blossoming friendship—one that is highly desired and desperately needed.
Audrey’s attitude towards my personal life (that is, the life that comes after making her life run smoothly five days a week, 12 hours a day) became clear the first time I made plans to meet my new friends. It is important to note that this was not my first time trying to make plans, but the first time I thought it would be appropriate to ask Audrey for my first favor—I finally understood my schedule, developed a system to get everything done in a timely manner and established myself as a hard worker who doesn’t complain. Check, check, check. In short, I figured that after two months of “All About Audrey” that I could ask for a favor to get off 30 minutes early. Sure fire, right?
So this evening I had everything done to its upmost perfection—dinner dishes washed, kitchen sparking, laundry and ironing complete, kids bathed and ready for bed and their clothes laid out for the morning. With still an hour left before I am supposed to get off, I approached Audrey and Cyril in a hustle and sweat while they were calmly sitting on the couch watching a movie (yes, both home like always and clearly not concerned about helping me with their kids). I told them of my plans and explained to them I had everything done and ready for the next day.
Audrey’s response to my favor was very French, (aka. frank), “you are not supposed to be off until 8:30.”
“Yeah,” I replied in confusion, “But I figured if I had everything finished that it would be okay since I worked 40 minutes over last night.”
Audrey shot back, “You can’t just think because you work overtime one night that you can go making your hours different whenever you want.”
I tried to stay calm and said, “Audrey, I am not trying to manipulate my schedule, I was just asking for a favor.”
I was in shock. First of all, since when did 8:00 become 8:30? And second, what could they possibly need me to do for the next hour? The kids are taken care of, the house is perfect and they are both home doing nothing!
I gave a few more fleeting excuses as to why it was necessary I leave early, but then settled with a mutter of sheer desperation, “Audrey, I am fighting for a social life here.”
I felt my face grow red and I was so angry and hurt I even felt tears forming in my eyes. Audrey went on to tell me more of her reasonings to why I am not allowed to just take off whenever I please and how I should stop taking advantage of the free time she (never) gives me. I continued to nod quietly, biting my tongue throughout her entire rant. Cyril kept his eyes on the movie and said nothing, obviously avoiding any eye contact with me. You see, earlier that night at the dinner table while Audrey was on the phone I asked him if I could go a bit early if I had all my stuff done (I seriously feel like such a teenager). He approved my request with flying colors. I knew I would still have to ask Audrey, but I figured this would help. Not at all. Audrey is a loud, dominating French woman and Cyril is a quiet and peaceful Canadian.
Audrey finally finished her stern rant and told me to go and we would talk about it later. Talk about what, I’m thinking to myself? The first favor I ever asked for managed to blow up in my face quite severely. I now realize my overall well being in this house is not of concern; therefore, my ability to manage a positive attitude is dwindling rapidly. I am sure it will only get worse from here.