The Usual Way

He awoke this morning in the usual way. With groggy eyes and shuffling feet he began his morning brew of black velvet and Reese’s peanut butter creamer. The dogs took their usual time during their morning business since they had nowhere to be, but with frozen arms and rosey cheeks he dragged them back into the warmth of the apartment. The only lights remaining on were the ones in the kitchen, allowing just enough light to see in the living room. The TV was soon turned on as he grabbed a fist full of his daily pills and choked them down. The hot coffee dissolved them quickly leaving an all too familiar bitter taste in his mouth. The weather man called for another cold one today despite deceitful daylight soon to emerge over the horizon. Realizing he was late, he quickly got dressed.

The medication has helped him tremendously in the previous months, and his attention span continued to improve with the newest addition to the cocktail. Who knew Welbutrin could help with focusing, or the lack thereof? As he rushed out of his car and into the plant, the cold wind gave a harsh slap to his freshly pierced lip. Although it had been over a week since he had it done, he was still learning to adjust with it when eating or fidgeting with his lip. The back plate of the labret was almost soothing to rub against his gums. “I believe I have a new nervous tick…”, he thought as he grabbed his work shirt from the rack by the door and listened to the morning huddle.

The morning progressed in the usual way on day shift. Product was created and packaged as carefully as possible as he facilitated the machines. Today however, his mind was clouded by a new book he began the day before. “Ready Player One” is a book about a teenager who is on a quest through videogames to inherit a vast fortune. The main character essentially carries on his life in a VR headset inside of a virtual world. Everyone is an avatar and life in the game is just as detailed as the real world. “If only we could all be so lucky…”, he muttered to himself as a machine began to malfunction. He continued to remind himself as much as possible that things weren’t so bad.

He was proud of himself that he was actually reading a book. It had been years since he could so much as focus on a book without reading the same line repeatedly. On top of that, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats released their new album today. He had been jamming to it most of the day while he diligently worked. This album was different from the previous ones. It was sort of like The Band meets Three Dog Night meets Ray Charles meets Sam Cooke. So many good sounds that reminded him of the music his parents listened to, yet with modern vocals and lyrics. There wasn’t a bad song on the album and he was excited for their concert in May.

Twelve hours flew by between music and the machines. Once he completed his long walk to the locker room, he threw his shirt into the bin for the uniform distributor to wash. He took a deep breath as his PPE took refuge in the confines of his locker. Another day was done. With a grateful heave of the door leading to the parking lot, he felt a sense of accomplishment. He realized he was exactly where he needed to be in life and was actually excited to meet the next day. The day was complete in the usual way.

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