Mindless Routine - A Monday in August, 2007
Did you ever have one of those days in the middle of an August heat wave you prayed for an ice storm wicked enough that it might get you out of work? Or better yet, out of life for a while? Or what about a beer truck turning over in the middle of the highway, delaying traffic and your life for a few hours?
I slammed on the brakes and missed the Lexus in front of me by mere inches, then thought it might behoove me to actually focus on what I was doing in the present and not what I wished would happen in the future. The old man in the lane beside me looked at me like I was an idiot – I shrugged and straightened out my coffee cup.
Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy my life, it was just that nothing ever happened. I went to work, maybe I went out at night, and then I came home. I don’t think anything that went five minutes past normal has happened to me since my appendix ruptured four years ago – which sucked, but at least it got me out of the house.
I used more caution than I should have after my near miss with a car worth three times what mine was worth and continued my commute to work, bitching in silent thoughts about the explosive traffic problems and was shocked to get a parking spot at all. I turned the iPod off and stuffed it in my bag, grabbed my coffee that stayed cozy in its Las Vegas mug, and ever grudgingly went to work. It wasn’t even 9:00 a.m. and it was already eighty six degrees. This weather was meant for Florida – not North Carolina. I was almost to the door and could already feel my bra attempt to glue itself to my back. With a few slight adjustments I continued walking like a zombie to where I’d be trapped for the next eight hours.
“Morning Tina,” I said to the building after I’d opened the door. I figured Tina was in there somewhere – one of those freakishly early people; I was late more often than not.
“Morning Bos,” came Tina’s gleeful voice from somewhere in the back.
I was far from being her boss. My name is Boston. Guess where I was born. I moved to North Carolina when I was around ten years old – my parents adored Boston, but the cold got to be too much for them. They’re some of the world’s biggest Red Sox fans, so they named their little girl Boston. It was better than Yastrzemski.
Upon returning to my desk after I crammed my lunch in the fridge, I glanced at a cut-out comic on the wall someone had mailed me. It had a row of employees all thinking, “Uh-Oh… I wonder if the boss noticed I haven’t done anything all day.” Then you saw the boss walking by them all and his thought bubble read, “Hmm… I wonder if my employees noticed I haven’t done anything all day?” That could easily become me later this afternoon.
After a long drawn out sigh, I snapped back to the reality of my desk. Everyone who bought a house for the first time was nervous and it was my job to put their mind at ease. Forty three e-mails looked at me and wondered when I’d respond.
“That’s the third time I’ve said your name. What PLANET are you on today?”
”Sorry Tina. My brain still thinks it’s the weekend. What can I do for you?”
“Were you able to finalize all those walk-throughs?”
Tina fidgets a lot. Right now she was tugging at her dark brown hair. Over the past couple of years, Tina had become a good example of the rule, “just because they make it in your size doesn’t mean you should wear it.” I’d been trying to think of a nice way to tell her. At the moment, it looked like her five sizes too small t-shirt was in a losing battle with her stomach and was screaming for someone to rescue it. It was a cute little navy t-shirt with an artsy flower along the left side – I’d rescue it.
“Yeah.” I was a stickler for detail and organization. They were all piled neatly on my desk, final copies paper-clipped to the front of each folder and the folders arranged by file number. Bosses love that shit.
“Ok, thanks.” She paused for a second. “When was the last time you got out of town? I mean, really just up and left. You’re here day in and day out – which I appreciate, don’t get me wrong - but you just need to leave for a while. I can’t remember the last time you took more than three days over the past four years!! You have more vacation time saved up than god. Take two weeks. Take two full weeks and just go somewhere, ok? The housing market is basically down the toilet so you know it’ll been slow when you’re away. If for some reason it should get busy, I’ll hire a temp for a week to file and answer phones. How’s that sound?”
“Seriously Boston – Go. Sooner rather than later.”
“I’ll think about it. I don’t even know where I’d go.”
4:47 – that was good enough for me. Seemed like it was good enough for Tina too. I heard the familiar clanks and bangs of her rummaging through the refrigerator to grab a Coke before she left for the day.
“You doing anything tonight?” She asked.
“Not much. I may stop by the store on the way home and get something to grill. Other than that, not really. What about you – doing anything fun tonight?”
“Trevor has swim class at 6:30. It’s really quite precious. He’s doing so well for just being four! He seems to enjoy himself, so I don’t mind shelling out the cash.”
“Well you two have a good time, enjoy your night and I’ll see you tomorrow!”
“Take care,” she replied.
After I grabbed all my stuff I bolted to the car in the sticky hot weather. I walked down the sidewalk a little bit and glanced into an empty building. You know, there used to be a giant gorilla in that building – true story. That thing had to have been twenty feet tall. Granted, it wasn’t real – but it was still a twenty foot tall gorilla. From what I heard, it belonged to the man across the street who owned the bar. The gorilla wasn’t there anymore – but you have to wonder where a twenty foot tall gorilla went when it wasn’t being stored. How would someone use a twenty foot gorilla anyway? On a more important matter, why on Earth would anyone have a need for a twenty foot tall gorilla?
I hopped in the Mazda with a fresh outlook on the night and started towards home. When I bought my Mazda, I splurged on myself. I didn’t go anywhere on vacation, I didn’t have a husband, I didn’t have children, so I wanted to get a really nice car. It’s one of those RX-8’s painted gunmetal grey with all the trimmings. I made damn sure to get a straight drive. When you buy a sports car, and get automatic transmission, that just seemed like a crime against nature. There’s an imbedded need in all people who drive a sports car to shift gears. It also ensured most people would never ask to borrow my car since they couldn’t operate a stick.
I glanced up at myself in the rear-view mirror and noticed I desperately needed a haircut. And color. Luckily my roots weren’t drastically different than the lovely blonde Sam always dyed my hair but they were still noticeable. And my hair was almost past my shoulders. This was my annoyance point and something had to be done about it. Mental note: Call Sam, fix hair.