Once I’ve made a breakfast of mashed Bananas, from a country I’m pretty sure is in Central America, and porridge from a packet with a picture of a burley man in a kilt on the front of it is eaten by my daughters, it’s time for me to run through my obligatory routine to get ready for work. As always I run the shower, standing naked on the cold tiled floor with one hand in the recess waiting for the water to get hot. I never can determine just how long it will be. Never too long, but always long enough to make me second guess whether or not I’ve actually turned on the hot water to begin with. And proceed with the feet to head scrub with whatever shower gel my wife has bought me in the preceding weeks.
“Today”, I begin thinking, sniffing the air, “today it’s the usual Vanilla and Jojoba. What is Jojoba anyway? Doesn’t seem important enough to even google, but I put it all over my body. Funny that.”
Once I’ve toweled and fettered off a little voice or two trying to get into my wife and I’s ensuite I shave off any remnants of hair from my face that may have surfaced over night. It’s always the same face greeting me. That, not too tired but no where near as young as it once was face. “The inevitable decay of the comfortable working man” I think. I try not to linger for too long as there’s been times when I catch my own eyes in the mirror and wonder what it is I think I’m doing with all this. These kind of circling, venial thoughts can be dangerous and have at times distracted me for almost an entire days work, feeling like a dozen cans tied to the back of my mind like a Just Married car of old. So today I skip past the mirror once I’ve shaved and move straight into the bedroom to slip into one of about 17 different suits of varying unoffensive colours I’ve accumulated over the years, affix my tie, slip into my old faux-Italian leather shoes and hop down the stairs holding the hand rail.
“I’m supposed to be in early today as we’re running through the updated curriculum. Jenny, Peter and Wayne will no doubt be there early too and I hate it when they beat me to the punch.” I said slightly unnervingly to my wife as she jostled with the girls school uniforms.
“Again? When are you going to take the girls to school? I’ve been wanting to get out for the 8am palates class for weeks now.”
I sort of heard the last part of what my wife was saying. I mumbled something like, “Oh yes, I know, sorry.” Gave her a blasé kiss, grabbed my little suitcase with the near-worn out corners, grabbed my keys and my wallet, pushed the door to the garage with my shoulder and stepped into the sagging seat of my Peugeot.
Driving down the road, I began to think about where I was headed and what it was I was doing, running through the things I had to do that day; being a teacher is pretty easy, not too challenging, just the right amount of intellectual stimulation and emotional reward to make it seem worthwhile. There are days when I wish that something a little more dramatic would happen though. I butt the indicator with my right hand to get ready to turn onto the highway. When I saw that there were planes that had crashed into the Pentagon and New York, I had imagined that something like that had happened near where I work and live. I didn’t mean it in a morbid way, I more felt that I had wanted it to happen just so there was something happening. Anything. Something more to talk about than, well, than what’s known, what’s expected. It’s not that I want people to die in a horrible accident, no not that. Just that, well, it’s boring, and besides the joy of seeing my daughters grow and the occasional sexual jaunt with my wife, life’s very predictable. And wouldn’t that be an interesting way to shake things up?
I’ve arrived at work, I’m parked and can barely remember the highway or the several turns and round-abouts I went through to get here. A deep sigh somehow passes through my teeth and I feel it on my upper lip. I check my face in the rear-view mirror. “Don’t look.” I mutter.