Bent over my keyboard I stare unblinkingly at the monitor. Option 8, space. Next line. Option 8, space. Over and over I go through the endless text and format it, creating bulleted lists; correcting the H&J's so there are no broken words; increasing the headlines one point with a keyboard short-cut then changing them to Arial Black for added emphasis. It's been a long day, and there are still 12 more files of text to go through before my brochures are all completed.
Thank god I don't have to create a separate design for all of these.
I despise templates but on this occasion I don't feel so bad about using one. After all, I created it. The 16 brochures all correspond so they have to look the same, and I'll be damned if they don't look snazzy with my design, Kurt's photos and Pierre's illustrations. As much as I enjoyed figuring out the design, formatting text for brochures just isn't challenging. It's repetitive and, using Style Sheets, it's downright boring.
My eyes drift to the upper corner of the computer and I see the minute flip over, the clock now reading 3:42. Time for me to go. As usual I've zoned out, lost track of time. I could be halfway home by now.
The vertical blinds rattle as a breeze sneaks in through the window. I welcome the cool breeze that winds around my form as I stand and begin straightening my desk, gathering cd's and popping them back into their cases and sliding all the proofs back into their blaringly electric green job jackets.
Ah, fuck it. I'm just going to come in again tomorrow, spread everything back out and end up with 10 cd's of photo files piled up again. Might as well leave my desk a disaster area for the evening. Then the boss will know I'm working hard when he stops by after I've left. When he sits behind my desk and chats with Pierre about his kids, about the freelance job they're working on, about our frustrations with the support team and their unwillingness to get our printer fixed in a timely manner.
I stand at my desk for a moment, staring at the clutter and running my hands over my pockets to make sure I have everything.
The excitement I hear in his voice isn't because he's happy to see me go so much as it's because he knows it means he'll get to leave soon too. "Yeah, time to go. See you tomorrow, Pierre."
"Have a good day."
I move across the room, turning to face the wall of glass only partially covered by plastic blinds and eye the dark clouds outside. It was bright and sunny when I came into work. It was warm, almost hot in the car. Now it's dark, cold and raining. A sigh escapes as I realize I didn't wear a coat to work today and my umbrella is in my car.
Pausing at the door, I quickly pop my head in Karen's office, careful not to trip over the cable cords stretched across the entrance. "Bye, Karen. See you tomorrow."
She looks up from the Titanium laptop that was supposed to have been mine and waves at me, smiling a little before looking back at the computer. I wonder if she's actually working or surfing the net again? I have very little respect for my supervisor. She once told me that when her office door was closed and the lights were out, it was because she was sleeping. What kind of supervisor tells her underling that?
Cursory pleasantries out of the way I dodge the cords once more and head out into the yellow fluorescently lit hallway. My head tilted down, I stare at the floor hoping to escape without anyone stopping me to ask how my day was, how was my weekend, where did I go this time? Swiftly I move through the halls and down the stairs.
As I shuffle down the steps I notice a student standing at the doorway, pressed against the glass. Her books clutched to her chest, her eyes staring out at the rain hoping it will end soon. Silly student.
I approach her, smile and then push out the doorway and into the light drizzle. The cold water slides down my face, beads on my glasses and dampens my hair and clothes, but I don't run. My strides are even and slow, enjoying being outside and alone. I love the rain.
Every time it rains I look to the black asphalt sidewalks and feel a touch of sadness. Even though it hasn't been raining long, I can see the pink noodle bodies of earthworms as they crawl across the puddling walkway. Many are alive. On tiptoes I dance across the path, dodging their little squiggling attempts to escape the soaked earth. I must look like a performance dancer when I do that, arms stretched out, torso leaning from one side to the other as I hop from empty space to empty space.
Whenever I see the little creatures on a rainy day the words "worm death" pop into my mind. It makes me sad to think these simple creatures are going to be dead in an hour, when students pile out of classes and rush to the parking lot toward their cars. Never once do they look down. Just stare ahead; their mind on the next class, that girl sitting next to them, the report they have to write. Carelessly their feet trod upon life, extinguishing it.
I once rescued a worm. It was the only one alive among its fallen comrades and I bent down and picked the worm up, staring as it curled around my finger attempting to wriggle free from bird attack. I walked a few paces and set it down on the edge of the walk way, partially in the grass. It slithered among the green blades and disappeared. Safe for now.
Today, as I depart the pathway and enter the parking lot, where worms don't venture, I wonder how much longer they will live. Why do worms rise to the top when it rains? Why don't the birds swoop down upon them during the rain, instead of huddling on branches beneath watertight feathers?
Maybe it's nature's way of saying only one predator at a time.