Fridays: what’s not to like, right?
Mondays are the worst, as everyone will tell you, ’cause we all know the menu by heart — Order up! “Five Days of Suck”! DING!
But Fridays? You’re always able to power through somehow. The morale is generally good, and even if your pulse is pounding a wet, punishing beat in your temples on the way to the office as payback for last night’s drinks and the four hours of sleep you told yourself would be “just enough,” you know the Extra-Strength Advil in your top drawer has got your back when you arrive.
Now, because our narrator fully realizes that his Fridays probably don’t represent the norm, he will now make an unorthodox switch to the first-person to put you at ease as he tenderly takes your hand and leads you on a stroll through his March 14th, 2014:
Right off the hop, things didn’t look that great. I had spent the last ten minutes turning my room upside down in an effort to find my phone, like it was a “random” cell inspection at Shawshank. It was weird, because half of me played a seriously miffed Andy Dufresne, while the other was that impossible dick of a guard. In that moment, I was pretty damn “method.”
Would you just look at all this contraband!
Finally it occurred to me that I could simply call the phone from my landline! Like an idiot though, I had left it on vibrate. Later that afternoon, not recalling any of this until that moment, I would find a mysterious voicemail message.
“…oh! Son of BITCH!” BEEP! If you would like to play your message again, press—”
Just as I admitted to myself that I had been beaten, I threw on my pea coat and found it in the right pocket. You know, where I usually keep it?
After partly walking and partly jogging down the street to the bus stop, I saw it coming and thought I was going to miss it, but the driver was kind enough to wait when I held up my arm. I’d like to say I did it “cool,” but I think I betrayed a bit of panic. My mp3 player was playing Hendrix’s Voodoo Child, I remember, and it was one of those moments where a great song punctuated a great moment just perfectly. Kind of like when Deniro confidently struts into the bar in slow-motion to “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” in Mean Streets (1973).
We play by your rules, don’t we, James? Well? Don’t we?
You’re gat-damn-right, we do!
Every seat on the bus was taken, but because I only travel two stops, I always stand at the front anyway. By the way, these two legs of the trip are each roughly 1.2 kilometers, so…you know…hold that thought. In the spring and summer I often commit to skipping on the bus pass and will walk, but hell! This is March, and I live in a frozen tundra! Give me a break!
Just then, an elderly woman rose from her “priority seat” to my left and stood opposite me. The top of her head was level with my sternum, and as she smiled sweetly at me, I saw her lips move.
“…’Cause I’m a Voodoo Child! Lord knows I’m a Voodoo Child!”
“Pardon me, ma’am?” I asked softly as I popped out my left ear bud and leaned down, indicating that she’d have to repeat herself.
“Would you like to take my seat, please?” I heard her say.
I thought her phrasing was a little strange, but she did have a slight accent I couldn’t place, so I chalked it up to that.
“Oh, no, that’s quite alright!” I said politely. “I’d love to, but no. I only have to go two stops. No time.”
Strangely, her face shrivelled up and I noticed her squirm uncomfortably. I stood there wondering why she would do that for a good fifteen seconds. Then, she raised her gnarled little index finger, pointed it right at me and started moving forward. She was aiming for my heart, I just knew it. Terrified, and instinctively trying to dodge a possible Gypsy curse, I stepped to the side and watched her press the red “REQUEST STOP” button. The big yellow cords were out of reach y’see, and I had been blocking her.
I’m now going to repeat that exchange as it actually happened both for the reader’s benefit, and for mine: stop playing your music so goddamn loud!
Nice Old Woman: “Would you mind pressing the button, please?”
Nice Me (Read, “Condescending Asshole Me”): “Oh, no, that’s quite alright! I’d love to, but no. I only have to go two stops. No time.”
In that moment I realized that the forty or fifty commuters on that bus were pretty darn quiet, and I couldn’t bring myself to look back. I’d like to think that they too were all listening to their iPods, but I knew that wasn’t true.
Fortunately the rest of the day was pretty chill.
In my peripheral vision, I sensed Robo-Kyle creep into my office. Again, my ear buds were in.
“…you smiiiile, I smiiiile…”
Me: “Errnff?” (Reaching to pull the ear buds out) This had better be good!
Robo-Kyle: “No, no! Leave ’em in! I wanted to see what would happen if I put my ear muff headphones over top of your ear buds!”
Thank god it was good. Pffffttt!
Me: “It would be bad, Robo-Kyle. Very bad!”
Robo-Kyle: “…bad? How so?”
Me: “Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light.”
No, reader – I don’t say these things for them, I say them for you! All day long I selflessly throw myself on laugh grenades. Like this example shortly thereafter when I realize I had in fact brought a Coke to work with my lunch, but that it was now pretty warm. Just then my boss walked by.
Me: “Man, I wish I trusted the people here enough to leave my Coke in the shared fridge in the kitchenette,” I said to her. “Hey, didn’t I see a bar fridge delivered to your office last week?”
I raised my eyebrows in a hopeful fashion.
Her: “Yeah, I wouldn’t trust my lunch to that thing, either. And no, you can’t use the bar fridge! It’s strictly for the morning coffee supplies. The cream, specifically.”
Me: “Oh, okay. So what you’re saying is, if I switch from my usual lunch time Coca-Cola to a 500ml carton of Half n’ Half, I can use the bar fridge?”
Her: (Exasperated sigh)
Ahhhh! Fridays! 😉