08 January 2007

I've been workin' on the railroad

I've been workin' on the railroad,
All the live-long day.

Bernie's alarm clock buzzes at 6:15 and again at 6:22 and again at 6:29 before he pushes his toe out of the duvet. His leg follows his toe and so on until his feet his the carpet and his torso pulls upright. The scent of coffee maneuvers its way through the studio apartment from Bernie's automatic coffee maker.
That helps.
Can he just sleep in? Skip one day? Not the first day, he guesses.
The hot water beats on his chest. He peeks his head around the shower curtain, lifts his coffee cup to his lips, and takes a sip.
A little more awake.
Starched and pressed and out the door. Rain. Bernie ducks back inside. Let's try this again.
Starched and pressed and out the door with an umbrella held close over his head. Now Bernie knows why movies always make it rain on funerals and break-up scenes. And the first day of work, Bernie would like to add.
He begins his trek to the subway, the hem of his pants catching drops. A bus swoops by, spilling a puddle on Bernie's lap and belt.
Of course.
All the live-long day.
All the seats on the subway are filled, so Bernie grabs a strap between a construction worker and an overly perfumed business suit. Bernie's allergic to perfume. He tries to sneeze away from the gap in her shirt, a shirt that can't hold its top buttons, but hey, they're there. In his face.
A few more blocks after Bernie disembarks from the sardine can, and Bernie swivels through the rotating glass doors of a massive building. His new office building.
He's alone on the elevator. Thankfully. Just a few minutes to collect himself. The elevator stops at every floor. Every empty floor. Must be a glich in it's internal computer, or something, Bernie thinks.
The 56th floor. His new floor. Bernie checks his watch. 8:00 a.m. He worries that all the clocks in his life are skewed because not a soul stands on that floor. No phones ring. No coffee brews. Bernie shrugs his shoulders and finds his way to his cubicle. Thankfully he stopped by Friday to get situated, so he knows where his cubicle his.
The computer sings her familiar jingle when he presses the power button. He supposes he'll just juggle through the programs and set up his Outlook while he waits for the rest of the office to come in.
Where is everyone?
Bernie can't help but smile at the old commercial. They went to Arby's.
He double-clicks on the Outlook icon, and when it opens, he sees the date for the first time that day. Monday, September 4th.
Labor day.
Dinah, won't you blow your horn?


Robin said...

And a light-hearted piece to get my Monday going. Yep, it brought me a smile...as I sipped MY coffee :).

Jennifer Tiszai said...

Nice twist. Sounds like something I would do, coming to work on the wrong day.

Michelle Gregory said...

Sometimes you're the bug and sometimes you're the windshield.

Willowtree said...

Apart from the fact that I never went to work on a holiday by mistake, that pretty much described my existence for the last 12 years of my working life.

Pamela said...

I get messed up with daylight savings time

Jennifer said...

Cute story.