A Typical Work Day

It is a sunny day but the room is cool. The fan slowly stumbles to a stop, thanks to the ‘scheduled’ power cuts and my eyes open reluctantly, an hour before I planned to be awake.

I lie in bed for a bit, wondering if I can still manage to sleep and slowly my hand creeps towards the cell phone to check the time and the messages that have accumulated from people having normal lives.

That pushes me out of bed, down to the living room where I grab the gossip page of a newspaper which should be a tabloid anyway. The electricity is back on, and I curse the short break, grab the remote and plop myself on the couch, changing channels every few seconds, nothing of interest but unwilling to switch off those flickering images.

There is work to be done, emails to be sent but I put it away till the real scheduled power cut occurs. And it is time to head to work.

It feels weird sometimes, walking in so late… watching everyone already at work. Or to walk into an empty room and start the day. But it no longer feels weird to drive the other way when the traffic is facing me. It no longer feels strange to be leaving home at 7 PM instead of AM. It feels bad – particularly when you pass that brightly lit pub filled with people unwinding after a long day.

I wish I could go in but I know I will have to order a plain coke instead of one mixed with rum. I settle for icecream tonight.

You wander in, those little red figures jumping on your screen… people busy with their blue screens, their white screens, with news flowing all around you that you catch only snippets and scatters of the day. You hear about that earthquake and you ponder for a second. You hear about that scandal and you laugh – for a second. And then it is history. There is so much news that you wonder when what really begins to matter.

There are stories to be told still… for that space of a heartbeat when it does matter and you work for that. Some days you wonder what is the point of it all when nothing is permanent. Nothing even stays in your memory.

And then something triggers and you realise somebody out there reads you – maybe – and that is motivation enough for another week.

You yell, you shout, you curse, you nearly punch some people and pull half your hair out. You bitch about the politics, you eat food that tastes like stuff you do not want to know about. You vent and get back to it all. You dream of the day you get out of here and do what ‘you really want to do’ and know that it is just a dream, a fantasy you make up.

You are too lazy, too comfortable. And then something pops up that shakes you… makes you remember why you became a reporter. You are excited – in a way only another reporter will understand – that juice, that excitement… it lasts till you blow through… and slowly bleeds into frustration about the red tape and the questions. After all, hey, who would want to be questioned about their baby.

You slowly wind up… scrounging the cafeteria for some edible snacks… hunger is so much a part of you. Or maybe it is the boredom. Or maybe you are just addicted to junk. Like the fries from McD you order every other day, the cheesecake, the icecream, the burgers, the pasta salads, the tandoori chicken, the KFC burgers, the rolls, the pizzas… whatever anybody suggests.

You pack up for the day, with the vague thoughts of things still to be done, with the knowledge that you broke your promise to self about ‘no more junk food and have to save money’. You bitch about the savings and wonder where your money went.

You think about that movie you went to before coming to work… a couple of hundred for the ticket, another couple for the junk food (oops). All that fuel for the car. Or the cab fare. And the quick shopping spree of a book, a top and a pair of new shoes.

You shrug. Tomorrow, you tell yourself, will be a new day. Right now, all you hope for is to get home before the milkman and fall asleep before the cock crows and your neighbours start their morning rituals.

But hey! you are a vampire and can barely sleep… so you toss around, watch a movie and read a book and do all that you feel like pottering around… till you finally fall asleep, a minute before the milkman knocks on the door.

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