“This is, basically, a journal entry but with a twist: make your day sound interesting. Write a page from your own autobiography, and make it worth reading.
Don’t just list the events of the day; wrap a compelling narrative around the events of the day and tell us what were the most significant moments in it.”
I’m standing in front of a gigantic shelving display of different paints and polishes, all different hues, shimmers and sheers, mattes and glossy. Magenta, fuchsia, indigo, burnt orange, scarlet, goldenrod, lime green, pickle juice, every color imaginable. I’m about to get a manicure, pedicure, get my eyebrows waxed, and then, the best part: a full-body massage. I take a deep breath, relaxation, an entire day devoted to me. I’m never this lucky. I’m thinking about a deep blue denim for my toes, and maybe I’ll just get a French manicure. I’m reaching for a bottle, and the thought strikes me again.
I am never this lucky. I never pamper myself this way. In fact, I don’t even know if I have the money in my account to pay for this…
Then it begins. The incessant singing, catchy at first, then slowly, gratingly, ear-shatteringly annoying. Shit. It’s not a chorus of women serenading me at the salon. The salon scene is melting away. The nail polish in my hand is suddenly gone; my eyes pop open. I’m in bed, drool crusted onto my cheek, a tightness in my chest from the cough that keeps tickling my throat. The alarm going off: still singing its song. I glance at my alarm clock, squint, 7:00 a.m. in blazing red letters. Well, crap. I really am never that lucky. Though I want to do nothing more than roll over and somehow crawl back inside of that dream-space, I jump out of bed and slide into my work pants, throw on my shirt, run some foundation over my face, throw on a little blush, eyeliner, and mascara. Breakfast bar unwrapped and already in my hand before I even know what I’m doing. I’m brushing my teeth while hunting all through the apartment for my phone and keys. Phone’s on the bed, keys. Keys, keys, keys. Where did I have you last? Which purse did I throw you into? I check the pockets of my purses, check my table in the foyer. No keys. Jacket pocket, no keys. Back to my purses. Buried deep in the bottom of my favorite purse, lo and behold, keys.
Shit. 7:39 AM. Time to groove. I run out to catch my ride and the commute begins. Twenty minutes later, ta-da, at work, on time but barely. I ring the bell, waiting, waiting, waiting. 8:03 AM. Two minutes, and I’m going to be late. Finally, I give the door a little tug. It’s unlocked. Sweet Jesus, it’s unlocked. I dash inside, lock the door behind me, clock in: 8:06. A minute late, but it’s better than nothing. Now, time to sit down, catch my breath as I’m printing my dailies. Printing my daily reports, checking my messages for promotions, nothing new. After my reports print, it’s a matter of going through them and making sure everything’s filed away correctly, checking that my cashiers are doing their jobs correctly (some of them are, some of them aren’t, no sweat, a typical reprimand or question, and we’ll get back on track). Now,it’s time to hurry up and wait. Usually after my reports, I get started on price checks and changes, but there are none this week. Minutes silently tick away as I sit at my desk, rereading some paperwork, reading some notes for the novel I’m trying to write when the phone jangles me out of my stupor.
Tara calls to say she won’t be coming in. I cover her shift: cashiering, printing registries, and greeting guests.After four hours roll by, I take off. My boyfriend and I have lunch together and open the windows for a mid-afternoon nap. After my nap, I take a refreshing shower, reapply my make-up, compile some poems to put into my poetry book, and then we take off so I can get to my other job on time.
Training, training, training. Break. Training, training. I take my test, pass with flying colors, but then it starts to go down hill. My Dayquil is wearing off. The cough persists. My nose is running clear fluids. Yet I’m smiling and greeting guests, I’m asking if they want to sign up for credit cards. I’m doing the whole routine. It’s only Day 2. I have to push through. I feel a migraine coming on and want to throw up from swallowing so much phlegm. The smell of rubber is making me feel nauseous. The wood smells too strong. Everything is beginning to overwhelm me. The laugh of the cashier in the lane two rows down is too loud. A man buys an ice cream, and just holding it in my hands makes me want to get sick. Finally, I ask if I can go to the bathroom. My manager takes one look at me and considers how awful I look. She tells me to go to the bathroom, but when I come back out to clock out and go home. I walk into the bathroom and get sick, certain even though it’s Day 2, they’re going to let me go.
I apologize profusely, but the managers are smiling and telling me to take care of myself, to go home and start feeling better. It’s only an hour early, they insist, go home. I finally go home and finish the laundry with my boyfriend. By the time I take all the medicine I need to take to feel better, I’m on the verge of falling asleep with a cool wash rag over my eyes. Sleep has never felt so good.