Here it is, Thursday night. Naturally, if you’re so inclined to take in all of the beautiful scenery that exists outside of the four cloth-lined walls of your cubicle, you’ll find yourself at a bar probably a stone’s throw from your dungeon of quarterly reports or your apartment. You’re probably there with some coworkers, or maybe your buddies. You walk into the establishment with a presence that cannot be matched: sleeves rolled to your elbows, collar unbuttoned with your tie loose, and a couple twenties burning a hole in your pressed chinos.
You approach the bar, and the tender looks up from taking a hot rack of glasses out of the washer and you get the nod. You watch the glass tilt against the tap, the amber nectar flows in and raises a nice head. Before you know it, you’re putting a Hamilton on the hardwood and the frosted glass sits cool in your hand and there’s only one thought in your mind: I earned this.
Before you know it, one pilsner turns into three, and there’s some beautiful creature giving you the eyes from across the room. You play it cool, chuckle at one of your buddy’s jokes, and give her the look back over your shoulder. The bartender gets flagged down again and you put it into second gear; Woodford’s and water. Somewhere between a game of darts and two more whiskies, she’s putting her digits into your phone and the banter continues on. There’s an Uber just six minutes away and you can safely say you did Thursday right and your undergrad self would have been proud.
But then it’s Friday and that same iPhone that scored you another Snapchat buddy is playing the song of its people at six in the morning, to the tune of “Marimba.” You’re frantic, and you try to press the snooze button without blinding yourself. It shuts off, and you have another ten minutes of silence before it rings again. Afraid to open your eyes, it dawns on you: “Am I hungover or am I good to go this morning?” The symptoms haven’t kicked in yet, but the moment you swing your feet over the edge of the bed, it hits you like a sledgehammer.
Your body aches, your stomach is churning, and your head feels like the Mountain himself is pressing his thumbs into your eye sockets. But you muster through, side-step to the shower, and jump in. Instant shock, because you know you have to wait at least two minutes for it to warm up. Ah, sweet, sweet H2O streams from the shower head and it quenches your dire thirst immediately. But the stomach wants nothing to do with that satisfaction and rejects it immediately.
Shit, when did I get pizza? Shit, I have to be on the road in a half hour. Buckled over, unable to take your hands off your face, the shower has won, and you accept defeat. No time to shave, no time for anything except self-loathing while you find a shirt that’s not too wrinkly and make sure that at least your hair looks good. As you head to the door, the final pat-down: keys, phone, and wallet. If only your body was this prepared for the day ahead.
The commute is hell. You’re nursing a water bottle as you sit in stop and go traffic, listening to NPR because anything with a tune just isn’t feasible in this state. As you fight dry heaves and that subtle icepick being slowly tapped into your temple, the anxiety comes to play. What was her name again? What did we talk about? You can get rid of the taste of cigarettes lingering in your mouth and you think, does she smoke?
Did she see me ripping a heater? Oh shit, who did I text last night? Panic ensues as you draw a timeline in your head but before you know it, your exit is up and you’re pulling into the office lot. Ignition off and your head lands with a soft thud against the steering wheel. “I’m getting too old for this,” and you wonder how you did half the damage you did in college.
Walking into the office, you’re a ghost. You think no one seems you, and your only mission is to make it from your desk to the break room for coffee, and back to put your head down to avoid the world until 5:30 again. Your response to the tribe’s “Good Morning” routine is a low grunt and half a smile, and you wonder how everyone else is so fucking chipper at this hour.
Coffee in hand, it’s back to the corporate pillory you actually interviewed to be put in. You’re making your way out of the fog and before you know it, its lunch time. Armed with a greasy burger and a Red Bull, you’re back on the grind for a few more hours until the Windows 7 clock strikes five. Home stretch, the longest inning of your life approaches.
The closer isn’t even in the bullpen and it seems like it’s going to be a perfect game if you can hang on a bit longer. As you save your spreadsheets, and start clicking those glorious Red X’s to freedom, the DH comes up to the mound: your boss.
“Where have you been all day, haven’t heard a peep out of you?” You’re armed with a hard-working explanation, cleaning up this week work for a fresh start Monday. Weekend plans this, did you catch the game that, and it’s almost time to punch the card. And yet despite the gauntlet of a morning you had, the temptation of Happy Hour rolls around again, and you vow to take it easy tonight.
It’s a weekend to recuperate, and you leave your laptop locked in the desk. As you stroll into the watering hole again, you see a familiar face and it comes back like Xerox fresh out of the tray; her name was Amy.
And just like that, it all begins again. .
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