217. An Ordinary Day

As I escape the invading Japanese army by jumping out a window and running over rooftops, I’m vaguely aware of the radio sitting on the table on the rooftop. It’s playing Edith Piaf’s Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien. It’s abnormally loud for a radio. The trumpets swell.

Then I wake up and I realize that it’s just my alarm tone.

I drag myself out of bed to switch off the alarm. Then I climb back into bed and sleep for another 20 minutes before jolting up. I remind myself that I should get moving if I wanted to have breakfast.

So I wash up, get dressed, pick up my bag, and leave the house. I turn on the ignition and leave the engine to run for a minute or so before putting it into gear. I tell myself it’s good for the engine. It’s really because that extra minute helps me wake up properly.

The drive to the workplace is punctuated by breakfast. It’s always somewhere in that block of shops opposite IOI mall. They don’t serve proper breakfast anywhere else along the way.

I arrive at the office within 10 minutes to 8.30A.M. I punch in, boot up the computer, pull out an anthology (right now it’s Mr. Gaiman’s Fragile Things; before this it was KL Noir: Red), grab my flask, pull out a teabag (Ahmad’s Earl Grey now; Twinning’s Lady Grey before), and head to the pantry. I boil the water in the kettle, brew tea in my flask, and read a chapter or so as the tea cools.

Some things happen in between this and lunch time. Mostly involves tea drinking, writing, and wandering around social media in the way one would wander around a mall when one has nothing else to do. Somewhere in between, I might even do something productive.

Lunch time. I grab the thickest novel in my drawer (presently Mr. Gaiman’s American Gods) and head down to the cafeteria. The food there are like ice cubes: cold and ultimately unsatisfying. These days, I’ve taken to pastries from a nearby bakery for lunch. I finish lunch in 10 minutes flat, and for the rest of the lunch hour, I read.

The rest of the workday is just like the first part of it, only without the tea drinking. I write, and I wander around social media some more. I might also get productive, if we all get so lucky. At 5P.M., I pack up my flask, switch off the computer, and head home. If I’m lucky, the jam hasn’t started yet. If I’m not, some dude has his car stalled somewhere along the way, causing massive congestion all the way to Putrajaya.

I arrive at home. I have dinner. I tell myself that I won’t look at the computer screen again, but I invariably end up doing exactly that until about midnight. I wash up, retreat to bed, and in the minutes before I sleep, I sneak in a few pages of a book from my bedside (now Mr. King’s The Wind Through The Keyhole). Most of the time, my mind gives in before my eyes. Other times, it’s the other way around.

Either way, I close the book, switch off the lights, and close my eyes.


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