Working in a corporate environment is the pits. Literally, figuratively, any way you want to look at it, it’s the pits. But, it pays the bills. Yes, the bills. Those dreary little pieces of mail that make you long for childhood where everything that came in the mail for you was received in pink envelopes, adorned with shiny glitter, and well wishes. Or at the very least, make you wish that paper cuts could really slit your wrists and end it all.
You are reminded of this death wish every morning when you alarm rings at 7am sharp. It is dark outside, and if a resident of the Midwest, usually quite cold. The wind outside beating against the window beckons you… “come out, come out wherever you are! I’m waiting!!!”
You shuffle to the coffee maker first, slap the button, and stumble to the shower to wash away the crust from your eyes, and if like me, the side of your mouth where you drooled on your pillow most of the night.
If you have been bestowed with cherubic sleeping children, the instant their eyes open, all hell breaks loose as you suddenly become aware of the clock mocking you. Hurriedly, lunches are packed, teeth are brushed, breakfast is made, and you are rushing around naked hoping against hope that the Mexican house builders behind you are too engrossed with their music and hammering to peer into your windows, which have had the shades open since you moved into your house in 1985.
Kids packed and ready; you hit the car at 8:00am, and have exactly one half of an hour to drop them off with kisses, love and the occasional science experiment. There is always the blue haired senior citizen driving in front of you, with nowhere to go, and only the calling of his bladder roused him from his sleep and brought him out into world right in front of your car. Even your 7 year old is used to your traffic demeanor, and chimes in, “Come on Grandpa! We got somewhere to go!!! Get the lead out of your ass!”
Mental note to chastise later, for now, you MUST get to work on time! You know your boss will be passing your cubicle with her morning cup of coffee, exactly at 8:31am, again at 12:30pm, when you are to be returning from lunch, and of course, at exactly 5:00pm where your computer still needs to be on, and had better be hard at work, when feigning surprise, you notice that it’s time to go home.
Once safely at your desk, you take a deep breath, and notice a collective sigh from the other SIMS around you. Your day has begun.
Sometime around 10:00am, your bladder is full, and you must go to the very public restroom to relieve yourself. Praying that you don’t see Suzie leaving the stall before you, (Suzie is known for her horseshit sized bowel movements that constantly call the janitor to the toilet to plunge) you open the door and realize it’s safe. Suzie is nowhere to be seen.
Relaxed and ready to relieve your bladder, the door kicks open and although there are 4 other stalls to go in, the no named person chooses the one directly beside yours, and your urine retreats like a fox into a hole. Angered with this person who you know only by their poor choice of red socks, suddenly they do the unthinkable. They let out a huge, accidental fart, and now not only do you have to coax your urine back out, you have to do it quickly, because you know this person will not come out of their stall until you leave the restroom; their shame just too difficult to bear. You also feel the overwhelming sense of responsibility to be the first one to leave since after all, you were the first one there, and you follow correct bathroom etiquette.
From 10:30am to 12:00pm, a sufficient amount of works gets done, a customer is satiated, and you have resisted the urge to check your horoscope and yahoo email.
At noon, you herd with the rest of the cattle to the cafeteria, and if lucky, have a group of friends to sit and chat with. If unlucky, your best friend is the bologna sandwich you made that morning. Flashbacks of being ostracized in middle school inevitably creep in and you resist the urge to cry.
12:30pm. Lunch is over. You now have until 5:00pm to get the pile on your desk completed, along with Suzie’s who has left for the afternoon complaining of a stomach ache. “I’ll bet!” you think, and make another mental note to stay away from the restroom until at least 3 o’clock.
At 2:00pm, an acquaintance stops by your desk. You discuss the children, the family, the weather, when suddenly from nowhere, you notice the boss headed straight for you. Caught in the act, you notice their mental note to document this act of disobedience. Management is obsessed with documentation. It reminds one of the movie, “Friday” where Felicia, the neighborhood crackhead is begging Chris for a joint, and he tells her to “get the hell on”. She shoots him a glance, and says in her best ghetto accent, “I’ma remember dat!” Chris then tells her, “Remember it, write it down, I don’t give a fuuuuck”. You want to convey that sincerity in your eyes to the boss as she passes, but she is gone.
3:00pm, and two hours left to go! Time moves ever so slowly, the weight of the heavy afternoon settling upon your eyelids, and again, you regress toward your school days. If only I could lay my head down on the desk for one minute…
4:00pm, someone sends you a personal email, and you are thankful for the distraction. Upon opening it however, you read the following:
JESUS LOVES YOU! If you don’t send this to at least 10 of your friends, you will DIE in a horrendous car accident that not even the jaws of life will be able to pry you from. However, if you do forward this on, a past love will think of you at 5:00pm and you will get a phone call that will change your life!
Worried, you forward the email on to 10 of your closest friends, and hope they don’t get the attached virus. Oh well, at least you have been saved.
4:59pm. A frantic phone call. Someone missed something! They need it right away, and only you can solve their problem. It’s ok though, you know what to do, and by 5:30pm, you have saved the day! This customer now has a renewed sense that Corporate America hasn’t forgotten them. “It’s about time someone there knew what the hell they were doing” they tell you. “What was your name again?” You suddenly realize that they have latched onto you harder than a newborn to its mother’s breast, and forever more, you are the only one they will call, usually right around 5:30pm…
5:30pm?? Did she just say 5:30pm??? Oh no! The children both have to be picked up by 6:00pm sharp or their schools will start charging by the minute! Run to the car! Fly through the parking lot! Zoom to the interstate, where there is an endless sea of brake lights…
6:30pm. Home at last. The children rush from the car into the house, and you step outside to check the mail where you know there will be no pink envelopes with shiny glitter or well wishes. Just bills.
Robin is a working mother and writer; specializing in short stories. Currently seeking an agent/publisher, she plans to continue writing and finish her English degree. Her greatest writing inspiration is David Sedaris, and hopes one day to finish a New York times crossword puzzle with him.