[Original Novella] Okay I Guess, Part 1

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Daniel awoke to the sound of his special alarm clock going off. What makes it special is that there’s this spinning helicopter type piece that flies off the top, and the alarm won’t stop until you’ve located that piece and put it back on the clock.

This got Daniel up and out of bed long enough that by the time he finished the process, he was no longer tempted to crawl back under the covers. In this respect the clock performed its intended function and was an improvement over standard clocks, so Daniel rated it three out of four stars on the website he bought it from.

Pipkins the Rabbit was on television while Daniel showered. He never actually sat to watch the set for prolonged periods, neither did anybody he knew, but rather found the general background chatter of television difficult to live without.

Pipkins was searching for his hat in this episode. “Pipkins is normally a fairly cute rabbit as rabbits go”, Daniel thought to himself. “If he finds the hat he’s lost, I expect it will increase that effect substantially. In particular if other rabbits are present without any sort of headgear or garments to supply contrast with Pipkins, who will look much cuter next to them in his hat that he would have alone.”

Indeed that proved to be the outcome of the episode as Daniel finished dressing, double checked he had everything he would need, then headed out the door. On his way to the bus stop, Daniel decided to buy himself breakfast from one of the many food trucks which had opened recently in his area.

These trucks supply an unbeatable variety of different flavors at very competitive prices, Daniel reflected as he deliberated over which truck to patronize. Ultimately he selected the Cheep Cheep Chicken Wings truck.

Not because he found chicken especially appetizing by comparison with other meats, but because they were offering a limited time spicy chili tomato dipping sauce with their chicken wings. Daniel could not resist potent flavors, such as those found in Mexican, Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine.

Daniel appreciated the strong chili flavor as advertised, then subtle tomato after that. It was bold, but the heat was just right. Just on the verge of being painful. He wiped away a tear with the napkin, taking care not to use his finger which he assumed could have some residual spicy chili tomato sauce under the fingernail that could irritate his eye.

It left him feeling a little bit hungry still but for the meager price of just two dollars and forty nine cents for the entire basket of wings, plus the sauce, he found himself hard pressed to fault the value that it represented.

Daniel then took out his phone to look at while waiting for the bus. He noticed an app related to car sharing and gave brief consideration to the economics of the proposition before deciding that conventional public transit still met his needs for all but rare circumstances.

Certainly, Daniel thought to himself, it would be nice to have the occasional use of a private automobile for some things. One could go to the park, or to a drive in movie if those still exist anywhere. But everybody in his age bracket seemed to be embracing a world in which none of them owned anything, a trend Daniel had mixed feelings about.

Rebecca was telling some sort of funny story in the break room. Daniel thought about trying to join into the periphery, laughing with everybody else just to be a part of the enjoyment. But then he imagined how mortifying it would be if he were challenged on the details of what Rebecca said which made him laugh, deciding he could not risk it even though he knew it was an implausible scenario.

For this, and because of the energy imparted unto his body by the ongoing metabolization of chicken parts, he opted to throw himself into his work. It went mostly ok, though Daniel was very poor at empathizing with angry people who’d lost sight of their historically unprecedented position of safety and comfort because their game controller would not synchronize with the new version of the console they recently purchased.

In Daniel’s experience, swiftly solving the problem itself often dissolved their anger, obviating the need for the rehearsed emotional management phrases. Daniel nevertheless made use of them, having been reprimanded twice before when he neglected to do so.

A customer explained to Daniel that she had recently purchased the Xavier Diamond Cross 3700 gaming console after learning that it offered a doubling of memory on its already parallelized graphical processors, allowing for improved resolution on textures, the shaders often used to accentuate those textures in response to dynamic ingame light sources, and just to generally increase the overall clarity and visual impressiveness of games.

Daniel affirmed that indeed, the doubled memory onboard the two graphical processing units would make possible the performance improvements she described, then asked if anything could be better. He had been carefully trained never to ask what was wrong with it, as it implied something wrong with the unit.

He soon learned it was a simple case of re-pairing the controllers, being that the new ones connected over bluetooth while the old ones used their own proprietary short range radio.
Daniel then patiently walked the anxious midwestern sounding woman through the process, offering her pre-approved statements of comfort and affirmation that she was doing great whenever she said things like “I’m not good at this” or “my son usually figures out the gizmo crap in this house, I just wanted this to be a surprise”.

The call dragged on just because she liked talking to somebody, which irritated Daniel as it hurt his performance metrics. Perhaps because she sounded similar to his mother, Daniel bit his tongue and asked her after the issue was resolved whether there was anything else she needed help with.

She then asked Daniel’s opinion about a big dark mole on her back. She explained she didn’t believe in western medicine because they would only keep her sick to sell her pills, but saw on a day time television talk show that large, dark moles may signify cancer.

Daniel gripped the edges of his keyboard slightly as he confirmed that indeed, what she heard was true but that she should not generally trust medical advice from television shows. He further advised that she schedule a dermatology appointment. After she asked if he could set it up for her, he explained that his employer was not a healthcare provider.

This concluded the call, which all told went on for nine minutes, seventeen seconds. Not actually that long, the average was somewhere around six minutes after stuff like prank calls or wrong numbers were subtracted from consideration.

The silver lining in Daniel’s view was that it would make for a funny story to tell in the break room. Indeed it did, although Rebecca only showed up halfway into it, just sort of merging into the periphery and laughing with everybody else.

Daniel briefly considered retelling the story from the top, but decided against it, as it would be a bore to those who had already heard it once to hear it a second time so soon after the first. He made brief eye contact with Rebecca as she left for the kitchen area.

The kitchen area had many of the amenities you would need to prepare a meal, or to clean up after one. A trash compactor, surprisingly, the only one in the building to his knowledge. A sink. A microwave, and a coffee maker.

It was not so elaborate as to invite employees to bring anything in the way of a lunch which required more than a microwave, however. Rebecca was in the process of re-heating a danish. “That was a funny story” she said.

Daniel asked which part of it she liked. She looked anxious and did not reply immediately, eventually saying that she just thought Daniel was a generally funny guy. He briefly weighed whether she meant that he was funny in the derogatory way that monkeys are funny, or if she was complimenting him.

Daniel lived a fairly comfortable and compartmentalized life that he saw no reason to invite disruptions to, especially considering that he was currently renting an apartment without any roommates on call center wages.

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