I guess the fodder for this story came when I was talking with a friend the other day. We kinda made this story of an "average single middle-class working person" up together in a discussion on how dreary and repetitive a working day can get.

Therefore, he decided it was time to wake up.

Reluctantly lifing off the sheets (*grumble*), he dragged his feet to the bathroom and stared incomprehensibly at the mirror. Slowly the image he saw resolved itself into the image of a middle-aged man with shaggy hair and bristles on his chin. Toothbrush and toothpaste leaped into action as he grimaced at himself. Spit, rinse, gargle. The electric shaver took its usual position at the right jaw and swiped away all the little hairs.

There was something comforting about all this early morning ritual. You can almost never go wrong (unless you mistook the shaving cream for toothpaste, or vice versa, which he seldom did nowadays).

A quick shower, a brush of the hair with gel and comb. Throwing on a freshly-ironed shirt on the back (it's hot!), and trousers, he was out of the house and into the car while struggling with his socks and shoes. He was going to be a little late again.

What was it with traffic and speed? He reasoned that the faster one wanted to go, the more traffic would clog up. This theory had been proven right almost every morning, except that sometimes, very rarely, he did manage to get to the office early. It gave him hope that today would be one of those very rare days.

It was not.

Hopping into the office, he found most of his colleagues already furiously tapping away at their keyboards. The corporate world seemed determined to destroy their keyboards by tapping on them noisily with much force and, occasionally, emotion. Perhaps actually ruining a keyboard was one of those things that would get one promoted. The trouble was, these things were virtually indestructible. He knew because he had spent the past five years trying to do it, and had never succeeded. Why a hammer wasn't used was never discussed.

He took his place at his cubicle ; tapping away with much energy, he became one with the company and his colleagues.

This monotony was broken by several intervals: the nineses, tenses, and elevenses; the lunch hour; the twoses, threeses, fourses and fiveses. These intervals, except for the lunch hour, were marked by standing around the pantry chatting with colleagues. His colleagues were a nice enough bunch of people. Some were humorous, others to be humoured and the rest to be fodder for humour. Bosses generally fell into the category of being fodder for humour. It was just the way things were.

The end of the working day was also marked by certain behaviour patterns. Just about 15 minutes before, restlessness and fidgeting would pervade the entire room. The decibel level of keyboard tapping would drop drastically, and the level of anticipation, being inversely proportional, would increase until you could barely breathe. Right on the dot (sometimes before) there would be an exodus (sometimes a stampede) out the front doors.

He liked Happy Hour. Going to his favourite pub and sitting in his favourite seat and chatting up his favourite bartender and/or female friend was always fun. Time was biased against him : he knew it. It never slowed down for him when he was there ; in fact, it seemed to speed up a little. Never so much that he could sue it though.

He never held a grudge against Time for long. He was happier to be at home finally. Talking could be exhausting, and the drinks took their toll slowly but surely. He showered off the gunk he had accumulated that day and settled on the couch to watch TV.

His eyes would not let him do this. They expressed their displeasure by transferring all the dark matter in the universe to the tips of his eyelids, making them very heavy to lift indeed.

He persevered in lifting them several times. It was a favourite programme of his.

In the end, this was not sustainable. The call of the bed was getting louder by the second. Tick Tock Tick. Precious moments for pillow-head bonding were being wasted.

He gave up ; he dived into bed. Fell into a deep dreamless sleep almost immediately.

Also almost immediately (it seemed to him), bliss was interrupted by a loud incessant clanging. Tossing in a frustrated manner did not help. The sun (that impertinent creature!) peeped through the thick curtains. He found that it was getting unbearable... therefore... therefore...