At 7:45 a.m., he was pulled from the embrace of enchanted dreams back into the grip of the real world. With 45 minutes until he had to be at work, he debated his options, weighing the risk of being late with the reward of 9 more minutes of tranquil fantasy. The internal battle struggled on for what seemed like lifetimes, counting down the amount of time he could return to his escape from reality – tick, tick, tick. Before long, he realized he had no other option but acquiesce to his fate. He rose from the protection of his silver microfiber sheets, and it began like any other Friday morning.
Hurriedly now, at 8:27 a.m., he made his way from his maroon and beige, quote unquote luxury-style apartment complex to his freshly-detailed car. Nothing yet was out of the ordinary; running late was part of his usual routine. He opened the door to his car, started the engine, and began the drive to work.
While en route to work, he started to think of the duties he would be tasked with during the day, but quickly his mind drifted to 5 o’clock in the afternoon and the allure it presents. What bars would he go to? Which friends would he go with? What dumb decisions would he make? Suddenly, he was jolted from his daydream with the sound of a horn and the sight of a middle finger. Still, nothing out of the ordinary, as he is generally a pretty shitty driver.
At 8:42 a.m., he walked into the large, glass-walled, open-designed (read: modern) lobby of his firm’s building. As he walked in, he was struck by a condescending glance from the front desk receptionist and then by a pitying glare from the security guard. Not yet shaken, he cautiously stepped toward the elevator. As he pressed the raised circular button, he prayed no one else would congregate with him in the elevator. His prayers went unheard or unanswered. Six people – male and female, ranging from his age to upper 60s – joined him in the elevator. He was afraid he would be forced to succumb to niceties, but much to his surprise, no one said a word. Instead, he again found himself with disapproving eyes surrounding him, silently judging him. This was out of the ordinary.
He sat down at his hotel-system desk and opened his company-issued laptop – time to look productive. Before he had the chance to hide Reddit’s home page behind Microsoft Outlook, he was called into his Director’s office.
Worriedly now, panicked thoughts raced in his mind and unnerved feet stumbled on the path into his boss’s room. The air was gradually becoming thinner. His boss’s lips moved in slow motion, but the words flowed faster than his brain could comprehend. The first sentence of his boss’s that he could make sense of was, “So, what is it, exactly, you would say you do here?” Inundated with fear, he was at a loss for words. He honestly couldn’t provide an answer. He wasn’t entirely sure what he does at work. Defeated and confused, he left the hostile room and returned to his little cube. However, this action did not provide relief or comfort. The feeling of being watched returned to him. He slowly noticed that his coworkers shared his Director’s sentiments. They weren’t really sure what he did there, either.
The temperature was rapidly becoming warmer. He had to get out. He had to find relief, comfort. He excused himself to the hall, and did what any other young adult would do when they have a problem: he called his parents.
“Mom, I need your help,” he slurred.
“Did you make your car payment this month? Why haven’t you called in a week? When was your last dentist appointment? How come you haven’t settled down with a nice girl yet? When are you saving for a down payment on a house?” His mother replied.
He had no answers. He didn’t hang up the phone to be rude. He hung up the phone because he was speechless. The furthest he had thought about his future was 5:00 this afternoon.
“Wait, that’s it! 5:00!” he thought to himself. All of his worries would be assuaged, his responsibilities postponed, and his sorrows drowned, if only he could make it to 5:00!
Later in the day, he left work precisely at 5:00, directly toward the bar district. He arrived at his friends’ go-to spot at 5:15 p.m. There, he waited. And he waited. And he waited. At 6 p.m. and six texts to six friends later, he was still alone. He even resorted to sending messages to group chats. But alas, nothing worked. His friends were either still at work, trying to advance their careers, or at home with their new spouses, enjoying a home-cooked meal while watching The Voice. It was almost like his friends all had their shit together. At first, he believed this to be a preposterous idea, but the more he thought about it, it became a clear conclusion. His friends did in fact have their shit together. No one wanted to go to a $10 all-you-can-drink well liquor happy hour.
Then, a tragic epiphany settled upon him: today is the day it happens. Today is the day everyone realizes he is faking it, and he has no idea what he’s doing. For 24 years, he’s managed to get by pretending he’s good at work, school, friendships, relationships, math, deciding where to eat dinner, making dentist appointments, ordering completely-necessary items off Amazon, small household chores… But finally people will realize he doesn’t have a grasp on being an adult. Hell, he’s lucky if he adults at a sixth-grade level.
And so he took back the rest of his well whisky-ginger from the clear 8-ounce plastic cup and headed to his car, and after careful deliberation whether he should get his life together, he decided a trip to his college town was in order for the weekend. .
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