Failure of Inconsequence

On Monday, arriving for work, I found an e-mail from the highest authority asking me to explain something I can not control and can only slightly effect. I made a pie chart and a bar chart representing what the situation that I could not effect was, and then I attended a meeting on that subject.

For the balance of the day I worked to force some processes through our system so that some items of very little value, of which we have very many physically present, would be sent on to the customers who wanted them. It should have been an automatic process, but as a side effect of a cost-saving measure it was not; and forcing the process results in problems for other people working to accomplish other tasks. However, in order to post the largest possible dollar figures for the month, a goal stressed by the cheif in the meeting that morning, it was necessary to abuse the system in this manner.

It is a tedious job, and I was often interrupted. However, the information necessary to set up the job is highly changable, so I prefer to complete it in one sitting rather than losing my place. This kept me somewhat overtime. Then I spent more time helping an employee access several safety training videos which contained advice such as “Smoking is bad for you” and “sleeping is good for you.”

When I at last left work, I went to Wal-Mart and bought a box of cereal, a tube of toothpaste, a water filter, a prepaid phone card, and two boxes of crackers on a buy-two sale. When I arrived home, I booted up the computer to redeem a bonus code for twenty extra minutes on the phone card, and a began to browse the internet.

I sat in a thinly-padded office chair directly by the thermostat, which was set for sixty-eight degrees, and time passed. The pages of the internet were neither profound enough to engross me, nor vapid enough to bore me. I chose to keep clicking.

When the time had trickeled past nine, I rose. I was shivering. I pulled on a sweater and opened the refrigertator. There, in its small plastic bag, was the palm-sized cut of beef, and the leftover broccoli, that I had intended to eat for supper. It was far too late for that. It felt like two in the morning. An almost empty jug of milk was the only other item on the shelves. I pulled down a box of cereal and realized that all the bowls were dirty, although little else was.

I drew dishwater. I was still shivering slightly as I dipped my hands in the hot water. When the dishes were clean, I set out a bowl and poured cereal. I got out the milk and pulled of the cap; a whiff of animal odor reminded me that the milk was ripening, three days past the stamped date.

I ate two bowls of cereal, finishing the box. I rinsed out my bowl, dumped the remaining milk down the drain, and went to bed, trembling between the cold sheets.