Okay I Guess

All Rights Reserved ©

Summary

Genre:
Humor / Other
Author:
Alex Beyman
Status:
Complete
Chapters:
1
Rating:
n/a
Age Limitation:
13+

Okay I Guess

Daniel awoke to the sound of his special alarm clock going off. What makes it special is that there’s this spinning helicopter type piece that flies off the top, and the alarm won’t stop until you’ve located that piece and put it back on the clock.

This got Daniel up and out of bed long enough that by the time he finished the process, he was no longer tempted to crawl back under the covers. In this respect the clock performed its intended function and was an improvement over standard clocks, so Daniel rated it three out of four stars on the website he bought it from.

Pipkins the Rabbit was on television while Daniel showered. He never actually sat to watch the set for prolonged periods, neither did anybody he knew, but rather found the general background chatter of television difficult to live without.

Pipkins was searching for his hat in this episode. “Pipkins is normally a fairly cute rabbit as rabbits go”, Daniel thought to himself. “If he finds the hat he’s lost, I expect it will increase that effect substantially. In particular if other rabbits are present without any sort of headgear or garments to supply contrast with Pipkins, who will look much cuter next to them in his hat than he would have alone. After all, animals do not ordinarily wear garments of any kind.”

Indeed that proved to be the outcome of the episode as Daniel finished dressing, double checked he had everything he would need, then headed out the door. On his way to the bus stop, Daniel decided to buy himself breakfast from one of the many food trucks which had opened recently in his area.

These trucks supply an unbeatable variety of different flavors at very competitive prices, Daniel reflected as he deliberated over which truck to patronize. Ultimately he selected the Cheep Cheep Chicken Wings truck.

Not because he found chicken especially appetizing by comparison with other meats, but because they were offering a limited time spicy chili tomato dipping sauce with their chicken wings. Daniel could not resist potent flavors, such as those found in Mexican, Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine.

Daniel appreciated the strong chili flavor as advertised, then subtle tomato after that. It was bold, but the heat was just right. Just on the verge of being painful. He wiped away a tear with the napkin, taking care not to use his finger which he assumed could have some residual spicy chili tomato sauce under the fingernail that could irritate his eye.

It left him feeling a little bit hungry still but for the meager price of just two dollars and forty nine cents for the entire basket of wings, plus the sauce, he found himself hard pressed to fault the value that it represented.

Daniel then took out his phone to look at while waiting for the bus. He noticed an app related to car sharing and gave brief consideration to the economics of the proposition before deciding that conventional public transit still met his needs for all but rare circumstances.

Certainly, Daniel thought to himself, it would be nice to have the occasional use of a private automobile for some things. One could go to the park, or to a drive in movie if those still exist anywhere. But everybody in his age bracket seemed to be embracing a world in which none of them owned anything, a trend Daniel had mixed feelings about.

Rebecca was telling some sort of funny story in the break room. Daniel thought about trying to join into the periphery, laughing with everybody else just to be a part of the enjoyment. But then he imagined how mortifying it would be if he were challenged on the details of what Rebecca said which made him laugh, deciding he could not risk it even though he knew it was an implausible scenario.

For this, and because of the energy imparted unto his body by the ongoing metabolization of chicken parts, he opted to throw himself into his work. It went mostly ok, though Daniel was very poor at empathizing with angry people who’d lost sight of their historically unprecedented position of safety and comfort because their game controller would not synchronize with the new version of the console they recently purchased.

In Daniel’s experience, swiftly solving the problem itself often dissolved their anger, obviating the need for the rehearsed emotional management phrases. Daniel nevertheless made use of them, having been reprimanded twice before when he neglected to do so.

A customer explained to Daniel that she had recently purchased the Xavier Diamond Cross 3700 gaming console after learning that it offered a doubling of memory on its already parallelized graphical processors, allowing for improved resolution on textures, the shaders often used to accentuate those textures in response to dynamic ingame light sources, and just to generally increase the overall clarity and visual impressiveness of games.

Daniel affirmed that indeed, the doubled memory onboard the two graphical processing units would make possible the performance improvements she described, then asked if anything could be better. He had been carefully trained never to ask what was wrong with it, as it implied something wrong with the unit.

He soon learned it was a simple case of re-pairing the controllers, being that the new ones connected over bluetooth while the old ones used their own proprietary short range radio. Daniel then patiently walked the anxious midwestern sounding woman through the process, offering her pre-approved statements of comfort and affirmation that she was doing great whenever she said things like “I’m not good at this” or “my son usually figures out the gizmo crap in this house, I just wanted this to be a surprise”.

The call dragged on just because she liked talking to somebody, which irritated Daniel as it hurt his performance metrics. Perhaps because she sounded similar to his mother, Daniel bit his tongue and asked her after the issue was resolved whether there was anything else she needed help with.

She then asked Daniel’s opinion about a big dark mole on her back. She explained she didn’t believe in western medicine because they would only keep her sick to sell her pills, but saw on a day time television talk show that large, dark moles may signify cancer.

Daniel gripped the edges of his keyboard slightly as he confirmed that indeed, what she heard was true but that she should not generally trust medical advice from television shows. He further advised that she schedule a dermatology appointment. After she asked if he could set it up for her, he explained that his employer was not a healthcare provider.

This concluded the call, which all told went on for nine minutes, seventeen seconds. Not actually that long, the average was somewhere around six minutes after stuff like prank calls or wrong numbers were subtracted from consideration.

The silver lining in Daniel’s view was that it would make for a funny story to tell in the break room. Indeed it did, although Rebecca only showed up halfway into it, just sort of merging into the periphery and laughing with everybody else.

Daniel briefly considered retelling the story from the top, but decided against it, as it would be a bore to those who had already heard it once to hear it a second time so soon after the first. He made brief eye contact with Rebecca as she left for the kitchen area.

The kitchen area had many of the amenities you would need to prepare a meal, or to clean up after one. A trash compactor, surprisingly, the only one in the building to his knowledge. A sink. A microwave, and a coffee maker.

It was not so elaborate as to invite employees to bring anything in the way of a lunch which required more than a microwave, however. Rebecca was in the process of re-heating a danish. “That was a funny story” she said.

Daniel asked which part of it she liked. She looked anxious and did not reply immediately, eventually saying that she just thought Daniel was a generally funny guy. He briefly weighed whether she meant that he was funny in the derogatory way that monkeys are funny, or if she was complimenting him.

Daniel lived a fairly comfortable and compartmentalized life that he saw no reason to invite disruptions to, especially considering that he was currently renting an apartment without any roommates on call center wages.

For this reason he was not in the habit of reaching out to make new connections with people, a habit he feared would see him quietly fade into the grave as one of life’s background characters.

He downloaded an app called MeetMatch which made the bad feelings go away, although he soon forgot he had it and wound up deleting it to make room for Blu-Ray rips of a Japanese animated series about aircraft carriers who are also junior highschool students that he pre-loaded onto his phone in anticipation of an upcoming international flight.

One of the characters, Hinata chan, was the only Gerald R. Ford class carrier in her grade. In recent episodes this created a great deal of conflict with fellow students Koharu chan and Rio chan, who were engaged in a love triangle with Long Island class carrier Ryusei kun before she transferred.

Understandably the appearance of a new potential love rival, in a cutting edge carrier class no less, made both of them feel threatened. Even Hinata chan’s friendly overtures, such as invitations to come and eat small fancy cakes at her home, were ignored.

Daniel might have been content to wait until he got back from the business trip to find out what happened except that in the most recent episode, full scale naval battle had erupted across the Pacific theater as a consequence of war games gone wrong, and Hinata chan’s unprecedented ability to make fuel out of sea water using her onboard nuclear reactor could prove to be a decisive advantage.

Daniel visited the men’s restroom before returning to work, where he took an unpleasant but bearable dump, the various exotic spices in the chili tomato sauce returning to irritate his asshole on the way out.

Daniel recalled reading about German toilets which have a little shelf you poop onto, so that you can examine your stool before flushing it. Although there were to his knowledge many reputable medical reasons why it is a good idea to monitor the consistency and content of your emissions, Daniel nevertheless found it a disagreeable idea.

Based on this moment of reflection, Daniel resolved never to purchase a toilet of that type or any which substantially differs from the North American standard, and he never did. He flushed, a little bit of the splashback getting onto his pants.

It would look a little bit as if he’d peed himself but hopefully, it would dry sufficiently by the time he exited the restroom that it escaped anybody’s notice as he made his way back to his desk. In fact it did. Daniel was able to resume taking calls without any embarrassing incidents occurring as a result of the still somewhat damp spot on his trousers, even though he passed by Judy on the way and she is normally very observant.

The last call of the day was from another distraught mother, this time upset that her son’s Xavier Diamond Cross 3000 gaming console was stolen, wanting to know whether all of the games she bought him were necessarily gone with it.

“I have just worked so hard to give him nice things. I grew up on the mean streets you know. I don’t want that all to be gone just because one of those stupid friends tryna rope him into that gang shit stole the video game box itself. He earned that shit with good grades, I wanted to teach him a lesson with it, not for him to find out he can do everything right and work hard only for his reward to be taken away in the end.”

Daniel assured the woman that he understood her concerns and empathized. “Nobody likes to talk about how it is on the streets. There are stop signs there, for example. They have such hard edges and one is required to bring their motor vehicle to an absolute halt before them or face serious fines.

They are then meant to proceed more or less as if at an intersection, free to proceed or to turn unless they did not arrive first, in which case the first to arrive has the right of way. That’s just how it is on the streets, nobody wants to talk about real shit like that but I’m right there with you.

With respect to your game purchases, in fact what you purchased are the licenses. This is permission to access the game content anywhere, at any time on that account. This means that your son will be able to log into his existing account when you buy him a replacement Xavier Diamond Cross gaming console and re-download all of the titles you have purchased for him.

However I invite you to consider the advantages of upgrading to an Xavier Diamond Cross 3700. By comparison with the base 3000 unit, it offers a doubling of visual memory on the two graphical processing units, which increases the-”

The woman interrupted here, assuring Daniel she knew what it did and did not want to upgrade. He asked if she was sure, in light of the remarkable fact that the 3700 series comes with a free one year Cobalt membership which would allow her son to lend his games to friends also in possession of a Cobalt membership for 24 hour periods, once per game.

She sounded honestly intrigued but confessed that she would have to review her finances before making a decision like that. Daniel assured her that the free year of Cobalt membership with every new 3700 unit would still be going on until the end of the month.

“Thanks, but I’m fine” she concluded. “I was worried, it was nice that you talked me through it.” “Alright” Daniel replied, waiting for a few seconds of silence before ending the call. The total call duration was three minutes and thirty three seconds.

It occurred to Daniel this might be an important figure, as he recalled that three followed by repeating threes after the decimal place is a perfect third of ten. But it turned out that had nothing to do with the call, just what anybody in the world would call a coincidence if you were to call them up and ask them about it right now.

“Hey, do you want a ride home?” Rebecca inquired. “Normally I take Judy but she’s been out sick the past three days. Having somebody to talk to on the ride beats radio or whatever, haha.” Daniel agreed, enticed by the prospect of the fuel savings to be achieved by riding together as opposed to if Rebecca had driven home by herself.

“Oh, did you...have an accident? Spill water or something…?” She gestured to the damp spot on Daniel’s pants, somehow still visible, perhaps because the shelter provided by the desk prevented overhead lights from evaporating the water as quickly as it otherwise would have.

“No, just a normal quantity of splashback from the toilet as unavoidably happens in this building, because for whatever reason the flushing is unnecessarily powerful. I guess maybe the extra water costs less than cleaning out blockages used to.

I know what it looks like, but had I actually urinated in my pants of course I would have gone home on break to put on a clean pair. Apart from the unpleasant odor of urine it can also cause a painful rash following prolonged skin contact, because although urine is sterile, it has high ammonia content.”

It was a quiet ride, except for when Rebecca turned the radio on. Daniel enjoyed her selection of a rap cover of a television program he had recently finished watching, so he told her that he liked that television program. “Sorry, what?” She turned down the radio.

“I said that I watched the television show this rap song was based off of, and enjoyed it. Probably you also watch television programs and enjoy some of them, while either disliking others or remaining neutral on a case by case basis.”

She looked like she was trying to figure something out, then simply replied “Alright” before turning the radio back up. Daniel realized that without further questioning he would never find out for sure if indeed Rebecca also viewed television programs, finding some of them enjoyable while either feeling neutral or negative towards the rest.

However that felt like an intrusive thing to ask more about than he already had. Perhaps Rebecca does not view television programs? Perhaps she prefers other forms of media such as the written word, or rap songs on the radio which can be enjoyed without requiring sustained visual attention in the way that a television program does.

Daniel thought about what it would be like if he was a skilled rap singer capable of singing a rap which Rebecca had never heard prior to that occasion. He first realized that before he could rap, he would need to secure the basic fundamentals necessary for survival such as clean water, shelter from the elements, clothing, a heat source and so on.

After constructing a log cabin and smoking the first round of venison from a deer that he hunted, skinned and gutted in the correct manner after first ensuring the animal was truly dead, Daniel could then turn his attention to his appearance.

After all, appearance is an important part of being a rap singer, or so Daniel assumed based on the busy looking album covers with a lot of photoshop stuff going on like sparkles on the letters that Daniel remembered a little bit about how to do using tools like the lasso and filter menu.

He decided he would go with a comfortable, warm winter hat. Something like a long pointed sleep cap but with a ball of poof on the end, sort of like Santa Claus, on account of the new snowfall which would only be cause for concern had he not made sure to smoke enough meat to last until warmer weather permitted hunting to resume.

It was perhaps a slightly fancy hat which some might consider ostentatious but Daniel felt it was defensible on the grounds that the same length and poofy material which made it fancy also made it more effective at insulating the wearer’s head against the cold.

Naturally mittens were also necessary. Daniel carefully considered which color before deciding they should be the same color as the cap, whatever that was. If the colors were different, he reasoned, it would distract people, splitting their attention between the mittens and the cap as their own independent focal points when the real point of it was always the entire outfit.

Daniel took a break from this thought exercise, vowing to return to and finish it as time and energy allowed, in order to take his phone out. It buzzed in his pocket, and although he did not want to be rude, it could be important.

It was just some guy named xxXX/\/\/\SaintDtripppleR*NoScopeMLG*2017/\/\/\XXxx inquiring whether the alarm clock Daniel had given three stars that morning had anything wrong with it, that he’d not rated it four stars.

Daniel answered that he doesn’t like to give perfect ratings to anything as it diminishes the meaning of it and doesn’t allow any flexibility should something along the same lines come along but that blows him away in some fashion he could not have anticipated.

He then hit send and rated the interaction three out of four stars. While he had the site open, it caught his attention that Jurassic Park could be purchased as a digital download for only a dollar and ninety nine cents, and that he could keep the file itself without any associated digital rights management software which might otherwise interfere with playing it back on a variety of different devices.

The original film, Daniel recalled, had some somewhat dodgy CGI, albeit judiciously used only where it would have been financially infeasible to utilize practical effects. Even the largest and most expensive practical effect in the film, the animatronic tyrannosaur upper body, needed a little bit of CGI doctoring to sell it.

The technology just wasn’t there in 1993 to do a lot of the things the director presumably wanted, but sequels which nailed the CGI failed to impress because the real selling point of the film was the first-time spectacle of seeing dinosaurs brought to life, the impact of which sharply declines after the first time.

Daniel nevertheless bought the film and scheduled it to download to his set top box in the apartment, because of the scene where the two raptors fight the tyrannosaur. Daniel was excited to watch that again, many years after the first time he watched it.

The events of the fight lead the viewer to believe at one point that the two raptors will be able to cooperate to take down the tyrannosaur. Instead the tyrannosaur emerges victorious, killing one of the raptors while the other flees.

The scene where the guy gets sucked between the gap in the raptor holding pens was the other reason Daniel purchased the download, on account of how wicked sick that part in particular was, so he began to grow excited to watch it again.

“Well, here we are at your apartment building” Rebecca correctly observed. “I’m sure you’ve got stuff you want to go get done.” Daniel admitted he was only planning to watch the original 1993 Jurassic Park and order a Meat City Pizza.

“I didn’t used to order from Meat City because there’s just so many better options for pizza in this neighborhood” he explained, “but they have this online pizza tracker thing that lets you follow the process of your pizza’s preparation and transportation in real time.

It’s also possible with their customization system to put together something resembling a mediterranean pizza pie with white sauce, spinach, kalamata olives, tomato pieces and so on. I like that combination of ingredients and cannot find it on the menus of local pizzerias, even though by and large their ingredients are of better quality.”

Rebecca remarked that she also enjoyed mediterranean flavors because of their simplicity, in terms of the number of ingredients in any one dish, and the nutritionally wholesome balance of chicken and fish to vegetables and leafy greens, such as spinach and lettuce.

She then expressed the opinion that Jurassic Park was a pretty good film, although she would have preferred that it included additional dinosaur species and represented velociraptors in a more scientifically sound manner.

Daniel showed her the deal on his phone where she could download the film, pointing out that there was no digital rights management software that would prevent her from watching it on any of the devices she owned. He then showed her the pizza customization tool on the Meat City website, and how to set it to produce a mediterranean pizza.

Armed with this knowledge, Rebecca drove off into the night, presumably to enjoy the same film and dinner Daniel planned to. The pizza arrived a little bit late but it turns out that doesn’t actually mean that the pizza is free, although the driver offered a coupon for Daniel’s choice of either jalapeno bacon breadsticks or the chicken parmesan bread bowl for free with the order of any medium to large pizza with two or more toppings.

After eating seven of the twelve pieces, Daniel paused Jurassic Park at the part where the kids fall asleep with Dr. Grant, then wake up to the apatosaurs grazing nearby. He carefully put each of the remaining slices into individual ziplock bags so that he could take them to work with him as lunch over the subsequent five days.

The ziplock bags served not just to partition the food, but crucially to ensure that it retained its original moisture, as that determined more than anything how much of the flavor would return when it was reheated later.

Daniel found himself nodding off by the point where the kids are in the kitchen being hunted by the two raptors. Not wanting to lose his place, Daniel minimized the video player to the system tray so that he was unlikely to accidentally close it the following night, when he wished to resume watching.

With that matter dealt with, he pulled the covers on top of himself in order to retain body heat as he slept. He did not go under the sheets as he sometimes did on colder nights because he’d once done so needlessly and woken up sweaty.

Daniel spent twenty six minutes contemplating existential questions, having allotted himself thirty minutes for that before sleep each night. In the remaining four minutes, he imagined different types of hamburger sandwich that he would like to eat and what kinds of seasonal promotions they might be a part of, depending where they are sold.

Daniel reflected on the fact that he often had many potentially profitable ideas just before sleep each night. None which were of any use to his employer or himself in his current situation, but he realized he should write them down somewhere in case the opportunity should later arise to make some money with them.

So he did write them down, in a notepad style application on his phone. Daniel then placed his phone on the charging mat on the tablet next to his bed so that it would be ready with a full battery the next morning, and fell asleep shortly after that.

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