This Routine Is Killing Me

Posted: August 9, 2010 in The Roper Files


The alarm clock wakes me from dreams I wasn’t asleep long enough to flesh out into memories. Grope for my eyeglasses and stumble to the kitchen. Start coffee. Put out some food for the cat. Get out two slices of bread and smear some mayonnaise on it. Count out six slices of ham, smear some spicy mustard on it. Sprinkle on some salt and pepper, stick in a slice of cheddar and… 

I feel like flinging it against the wall; so sick of doing this every day.

Step outside and step on the cats tail; whoops…didn’t mean to do it but she gets under my feet and it’s four o’clock in the morning. The sun’s not up yet; it’s still too dark to see my hand in front of my face.  The paper is sticking partially out of the shrubs; when I lean over to pick it up I stick my face right into an invisible spider web. Glad everyone else is asleep and can’t see my panic attack as I try to wipe off the the silky web and any possible arachnids attached to it…

 Step back inside with the paper; is the coffee ready? Pour a cup in bitter frustration. Don’t remember what it was I wanted to do when I was an adult as a child but it sure wasn’t this.

Turn on the computer, check my mail, cruise a couple of sites and abracadabra…30 minutes disappears in the blink of an eye. Time to get out of here already…. 

Wolf down a bowl of Cheerios as I watch the local news…let’s see…the weather’s going to suck…check…multiple car pile-up in between home and work…check….gas prices going up…check… Man I could have phoned this “news” in for them; it’s the same thing every day

 Get in my GasHog 2000 and roar down the street and onto the freeway. Streetlights and neon turn into a multi-colored series of streaks and blurs as I speed down the road; gotta get there on time. Exchange middle fingers with the same morons every day on I-35: the asshole in the jacked-up Dodge 4X4 with the cow-catcher on the front who keeps changing lanes in front of me. The low-rider Honda Accord with the dark tint, the neon trim and the Speed Racer air foil on the trunk doing 45 in the left lane. The idiot in the Escalade who hugs the “lane ends” lane until the last possible moment. The empty school bus, cement mixer and the landscaping crew dragging a rock-covered trailer that is showering everyone behind them with rocks all three driving at the same speed side-by-side down the highway. By the time I get to work I realize why I quit packing a pistol; Texas drivers make it too tempting to use it.

 The industrial stench of inside where I work makes me want to vomit the second I walk in. Haven’t had as much as a bite of rum cake in twenty years, but I feel really hung-over almost immediately. There’s something about this place that induces that feeling instantly; can’t quite put my finger on it.

Take my place in front of a mill and unfold the paperwork with the job I am working on. They want a .337 x 100 degree countersink on this part; can’t increase the diameter on the hole more than five-thousandths of an inch…look closely at the “Simon-Says” blueprint….”opposite as shown”…why don’t they just print a second blueprint? Good thing I noticed that…man, it’s just WAY too early for this shit…un-cross my eyes and look at the clock: 6:04 am. Gee, only nine hours and fifty-five minutes left?

 Turn on the mill; the countersink begins to spin. Don’t want to do this. Don’t want to do it at all. Hold the part, lower the countersink onto the hole in the part…and the part gets away from me. The sharp corners become a spinning razor-sharp propeller that slices my fingers multiple times before I can pull my hand away. Blood begins to trickle from the tiny, almost invisible cuts in my fingers. Fuck!

Look at the clock: 6:07am…goddammit! Will this monotonous torture EVER stop?

 Wrap toilet paper and tape around my fingers and get back to work. Should have clamped a stop to the top of the mill table; just too early and wasn’t thinking about these sort of things. Dammit;now I have to struggle through the rest of the day with throbbing injured fingers. Finish the job, do the paperwork (which takes longer than the job itself) and then that’s when the calendar above my toolbox catches my eye. A hard-earned vacation is coming up; just a few days left. 

Close my eyes; I think of beaches, lakes, mountains, ocean. Going to see all of these things soon. In the meantime I have to endure this day. Won’t be easy. But there’s a carrot on the end of the stick. Not nuts about carrots, but I like this one.

Still thinking about carrots cooked in butter and black pepper when I hear: “Roper, are you asleep?” My supervisor is standing just inches away. I open my eyes, just laugh and tell him : “No I’m fine

Just dreaming, that’s all


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