It is summer. The air is heavy with the burden of heat and the trees outside my apartment building stretch upward, bare to the relentless sun. The shade they afford is scarce, and doesn't do them any good anyways. The heat that doesn't bake homes, apartment buildings and places of business soaks into the streets and vacant sand lots. Concrete, asphalt and dry dusty soil glint aimlessly, reflecting the heat back into the air, none guiding the excessive energy in a particular direction, just AWAY.

The tired denizens of the city vainly attempt to create pockets of cooler weather in this sea of shimmering haze, and succeed with varying degrees of success. Meticulously air-conditioned, harshly lighted and haphazardly decorated office buildings dot the desert landscape, each building built like a multi-level terrarium, segmented into levels and sections with stain-resistant carpet and acoustic ceiling tiles. Within these are the cube farms.

This is where I live for one out of every four hours of my life. The rest of the time is spent driving to my job, attempting to rid myself of the mental stress accumulated at work or simply sleeping.

Today, however, I've called in sick. I know I shouldn't have, but my head feels light and my digestive system appears to be dissatisfied with my erratic diet of vending machine cuisine and whatever's easiest to prepare when I get home. I slept late, drifting in and out of dreams involving Pink Floyd, psychic transmutation, Lucifer and contact lenses. I gradually got out of bed to drag myself to the bathroom and put on a contact lens. Just one, because I slept wearing the other one. I then sat on the couch and watched pointless game shows for about an hour. After showering, I decided to set up a SMTP/POP3 server on my box. It seems to work well. Eventually, I summoned the will to actually get dressed and head over to the grocery store where I purchased stamps, bread, milk and generic antacids. My local grocery store is generally populated with an interesting mix of Mexicans and college students. I headed over to the single-guys-buying-beer line. Though sometimes longer than the other lines, this one usually goes quickly. Single guys pay cash.

Then, a stop at Blockbuster to return a movie and pick up another. I rented "The Negotiator." Back home and time to eat. Chicken flautas, little fried burritos, translated literally "flutes", spiced with garlic and salsa. Greasy but satisfying.

The Negotiator was excellent. Kevin Spacey is The Man. It's late, but I'm going to play old arcade games for a while. It brings back memories of being much shorter, cheap pizza and the rows and rows of video cabinets covered with fake woodgrain and garish logos. I'd always ask my dad for money- sometimes he even gave me a crisp five dollar bill. Put the bill in the slot, watch the squat, brown, troll of a machine eat it and jackpot! Enough tokens to fill both of my small, eager hands. Ah, nostalgia- the semi-fictionalized recollections are so much sweeter than the real memories, the rough edges worn off and polished. Suddenly, it's 3am. I'm acutely aware of my own drowsiness and fall into bed, drifting to sleep almost immediately.