Where Were We...?

This morning, I woke up the same way I always wake up: slowly, painfully, and with an attitude of regret. I stumbled my way into the bathroom, threw back the shower curtain, started up the water, and, while I waited for it to heat up, I stared at myself in the mirror. The disheveled hair, the bewildered look on my face as I squinted under the bright lights just above the medicine cabinet.

There’s something wrong with the drain in my bathtub — in that it doesn’t drain. It doesn’t matter how much Drano I pour down there or how many times I’ve plunged it, the water will not go down the drain as immediately as it should. So, every morning, I stand in the shower and let the water rise until it’s almost up to my knees, then I turn off the water and dry off. On a positive note, the water accumulation does sort of act like a timer. “That water is up to your knees! Time to towel off and go to work!”

My morning oatmeal is tasteless, at best, but I still eat it. I have a unique way of enjoying my breakfast — I hold the bowl of oatmeal in my left hand and my spoon in my right and I watch cars pull into my office’s parking lot from my living room window. That’s right — I live across the street from my job. What’s nice about it, though, is that I walk across the street and I’m at work.

My work routine is always the same, too. I don’t mean to mimic Office Space or whatever, but a lot of the rituals the main character talks about in his daily work schedule are true to life. Much like him, I spend the first hour of my shift drinking my Earl Grey, checking my emails, and staring at my desk and pretending to be busy. Then, once I tire of listening to my coworker chomp and chew and swallow whatever the hell she’s eating, I put on my headphones and drift into a world of background music.

The entire day is a blur of advertisements, emails, proofs, and post-it notes. At the end of it, I look at the bins to see what I’ve accomplished and I never fail to find that, really, I’ve accomplished nothing. The bins were full when I walk in, the bins are full when I walk out.

Most nights, I go to the gym immediately after work for a couple hours. Then I drive home, surf the Net for a while, watch a few episodes of “How I Met Your Mother” and call it a night, only to be greeted by the rising waters in my tub the next morning.

* * * * *

Today, at work, a few guys and I moved desks around — giant, oak desks. Why? Company didn’t want them anymore. Drawers didn’t slide out all the way and they had scratches and dings on the surface. So we hauled them out to the dumpster. I mean, sure we could have donated them or even put them on the corner and waited for someone to pick them up (which, in this neighborhood, would take all of a few hours), but we just threw them away.

I took one piece of the mighty oak desk, lifted it over my head, and chucked it against the corner of the dumpster so that I could break it into smaller pieces that would better fit inside the dumpster. And as I watched, with much glee, the mighty desk explode into several pieces, something inside me untied, enabling me to leave my life even for just a few seconds so that I could see it for what it really is (or, more accurately, isn’t).

I never thought I’d be here at this point in my life. I know that’s sort of a cliche thing to say and all, but I can’t think of another way to say it. When I was in high school, my future was mapped out. After university, I was going to be married at the ripe age of 23, living in Ireland and working in a coffee shop or going for a Master’s degree. There was no other option for me. I knew what I wanted and I knew all the steps to take to make that happen. The only thing, though, is that dreams seldom match up with reality.

Before you know it, you’re done with University, living alone in a town that you despise with a dead-end job that means nothing to you, and little to no money. The dreams that once shone brilliantly in the front of your mind are still there, but dimming and recessing into the darker corners of your brain over time.

As far as I can tell, Ireland is still there. But it seems like it’s drifting into the horizon.

Granted, I’m only 23. I realize that I still have most (hopefully) of my life ahead of me and that no dream is too far gone. But it’s terribly difficult not to lose faith, not to lose hope, not to lose my grasp of reality and slip into some middle-class, middle-aged, work-induced coma.

All around me at my office I see people who have already fallen victim to that disease. These people who seemingly have nothing to live for anymore because they’re zombies! Staring at their computer screens, staring at their desks, staring at post-it notes, never blinking, never thinking. Everything is boiled down to science and routine. It’s like we’re living in the matrix, to quote an old friend. We’re all plugged into this way of thinking–this… survival mode, if you will. All we’re doing is surviving! We’re not truly living, we’re just barely scraping by! We work and we work and we work and live in these fake, phony professional lives that never add up to anything.

I want out. I want to unplug myself. I want to remember what it’s like to breathe without life support keeping me hanging on.

I want to throw out all the customer proofs that clutter that my office, all the computers, all the printers, all the cubicles, and smash the desk that I cozy up to from 9am-6pm everyday into tiny pieces against the corner of a dumpster and just leave it all.

Then, I will walk across the street back to my apartment, watch a DVD, and write a blog about my shit life. But that’s why I live a shit life, isn’t it?

What else would there be to blog about?

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