9:05. Yeah, I’m late. I tell myself I don’t care, but isn’t the acknowledgment evidence to the contrary? I head to my desk under the sheen of a discriminating spotlight, a gauntlet of sanctimonious glares. I’d pass-on like I didn’t notice, but Fletcher, Bethany, and Ishtar are all leering at me past their bobbleheads and pencil cups with their chins down and eyes crawling along in a surreal, Jelly-Car-like motion. Each has a cup of coffee and a half eaten bagel on their otherwise orderly desk, and all have likely spent time at the water cooler discussing the ease of their early morning commutes. And crap…I’m for certain my tardiness has just journaled its way into their mentally vaulted ledgers.
9:06. I turn my computer on. Damn, is this day ever going to end?
9:06 and a half. The eternal boot of a computer: Is there any greater marketing ploy for cheap office coffee? It’s 1985 and Gates, Maxwell, and House are all colluding on the advent of the progress bar.
9:07. Still booting. I can choose to endure or go get a cup of coffee, but I’d be risking a run-in with boss scary bitch; the kitchen is on the other end of the office. What do they say about decisions sans favorable outcomes? Welcome to adulthood? I think I’ll just hang tight right here and straighten my desk of this, I’d like to say pile of papers, but frankly it’s a mosh-pit of letters, stickies, and forms that I just don’t give a flyin’ fu–heyyy, what have we here…a start-bomb. It’s juvenile high jinx at its most cleverless, a cool popping-windows effect that will infinitely increase my boot time. Meh. Not a fan. Guess I’m off to get that coffee now. And there’s Geek Squad in the back, snickering over his digital blitzkrieg of my workstation. I should go over and sharpie a penis to the gape of the glowing apple on his MacBook, but office conventions dictate I unholster my six shooters and wink with a cackle. And besides, you never fuck with the nerd herd on the job; otherwise, you’ll be remanded to end-user purgatory…it’s true. TV enjoys perpetuating the boldface fallacy that trekkies are approachable and eager to assist. Pleeease...and Himmler spent his mornings holding story time for the mentally retarded. Geeks hate us! Wading thru the tortures of high school gives these guys an executive writ to inflict terror on office rank & file everywhere, hence the acronym I.T. Never mistake a nerd’s condescending tenor for a nasal impediment when he asks, ‘Is it plugged in?’ or ‘You don’t know where you saved it?’ Spock’s death nearly broke the Internet transcending the fact: we live tethered to a cyberpunk collective.
9:08. Is coffee supposed to look like this? I don’t normally do coffee, but I’m just an office sheep, so here I am. In any case, I don’t think gloop in a mug is a good thing. Damn! Would you look at this…gloop all over my fucking tie. Talk about your legacy devices in the workplace, the tie should have bowed out with floppy disks and dialup modems. Found in every dress code and coming in a variety of clashing colors, I give you the staple of conventional absurdity and the proverbial leash to corporate tyranny: the tie. If there’s a stat somewhere on the number of deaths by shredder, there’s a good chance these fucking ties are the root cause.
9:09. Heading back to my desk, mug in hand, and there’s Ishtar hanging at the water cooler. Nooo, Ishtar is not his real name. It’s Ishit, but I figure I’m doing him a solid. Whattup. The whattup head nod is a customary walk-on-by tactic I perfected in college while hawking along the girls’ dorms. It’s either that or I circle the long way around.
9:10. Hot coffee sidestep! Bethany’s caboose sways in tow to her full head of steam pushing past me and into the conference room. This is the time of the day when even the gnomiest looking of chicks will start a daylong transformation into a fetching distraction. And whoa, that smell and Bethany’s set of rims already have me delirious with sexy-teacher abstractions. I ignore the truth that she abstains from any and all interactions with me, and if she could, she’d likely charge me high rent for residing within the grooves of the soles of her swank heels. Yan is at my desk. Why is Yan at my desk?
9:11. Help! I’m trapped in a sedentary existence. Please, fire me!
Yan spins around and hops up off my chair. “Hey dude, didja like my start-bomb?” Yan’s nose points to the fluorescent lights above and his front teeth are like vacant billboards. He keeps talking and talking and talking while everyone is watching me buddy up with Geek Squad. I’ve just been X’d off every socially acceptable list in the office.
9:12. Time to get hard at it. Hold on; an agent approaches.
“You don’t wanna drink that,” Fletcher gestures to the gloop in a mug. “That coffee’s been there since before the weekend. Ishit picked up Starbucks for everyone.” Fletcher then places a large cup of coffee on the desk.
“Isheeet,” sharply enunciating the name aloud.
Fletcher leans in, “Yeah, I wasn’t sure either when I first saw his name plate, but he’s totally cool.”
“Well, what’s not cool about Starbucks? That was really nice of him.”
“So, yesterday was your first day, huh?” Fletcher asks in razzing form.
“First days suck, but startups like this are fun; you’ll see. You just finished your Bachelor’s, that right?”
“Another geek,” Fletcher lauds with a nod of his head, “you’re gonna fit right in. Oh and hey, we’re all going to the pub across the street after work for happy hour. You should come; it would be a great way to meet everybody.”
“I like happy hour.”
“Who doesn’t, right?” Fletcher leans in again. “I think Bethany will be glad to hear you’re coming.”
“Really?” The pitch of his reply soars, and Fletcher reels, wide-eyed. Trying to recover, “I really like her Dwight Schrute.”
“Yeah, that’s her favorite bobblehead. Oh and the first round’s on Yan. He won the Bal Harbor Cup over the weekend.”
“Cup?” Geek squad?
“Superboats. Yan has one of the fastest boats on the inter-coastal.”
“Have you met Liz, yet?”
“The boss-lady,” Fletcher sings smartly.
“Oh. No, I haven’t. Should I be nervous?”
“Dude, she’s a rock star. You’re gonna love her. She’s flying back this afternoon, from SoCal. And hey, stick your tie in a drawer. Unless a venture capitalist drops in, we’re laidback casual up in here.”
“Works for me.”
“So, I’ll catch ya later?” Fletcher flashes a pair of thumbs pointing up.
“Definitely. Oh and hey, let Yan know the first round’s on me.”
“All right! I will.”
9:14. Ohmygod, how awesome! I feel like…like spinning in this chair…Whoa! Hey Bethany…glaring down at me like it’s not creepy at all.
“So, you like my Dwight Schrute, huh?”
“Uhhh, you heard that did you?”
“How are you with overhead projectors?”
“Uhhh, let’s find out! But, can I send a quick text first?”
“Sure. I’ll be in the conference room.” Bethany twist her thin waist around in her black skirt and heads into the conference room.
9:15. Phone out of pocket. Message app. Texting:
Hey, mom. Sorry about this morn, been on edge.
Made friends today! Be home late J