Today was a normal day.
I woke up to the sound of my alarm clock. Tried to make breakfast, gave up, and brushed my teeth. Walked out of my apartment to my car and drove to work. The usual weatherman was talking on the radio, blabbing about how we’re due for six more weeks of winter. He’s been saying that over and over for at least the past month, but when you live in a town as cold as this, there’s not much else to say. Even when it’s spring, it’s still chilly as ever here.
Like the weatherman, work was the same as usual. At the call center, my job is to call everyone in the phone book over and over again in the hopes that someone who wants to buy solar panels is at home. Usually, no one picks up. However, once a day, at about half an hour before lunch or so, this old guy will answer the phone. I’ll ask him about solar panels, and he’ll tell me the same story about how he went to the North Pole on his 60th birthday, and that what he saw there proves that global warming isn’t real. I’ve tried a couple times to tell him that I’ve heard him say this story before, but he always just repeats it anyways. I don’t know if it’s out of spite, or if he just doesn’t have anything else going on at the moment. But frankly, I don’t even mind hearing that story anymore. I’m no climate change denier, but honestly, if you lived your whole life in a town as cold as this, you’d probably be skeptical of global warming too. That said, some days, I’ll just skip over the old guy’s number when I’m feeling lazy. I usually call him though. It seems like he lives alone, and as someone who also lives alone, it is nice to have someone check in on you.
After hearing the old man out, I had my lunch at my usual lunch spot, a donut shop across the street from the call center. I’ve always found it kind of weird that nobody else at the call center eats here. But I don’t really talk to people, so it doesn’t bother me too much. The only other people who are there when I’m having lunch are a mom and her baby. They never order anything, they just sit at a table and mumble at each other. I think I made eye contact with them once. It was awkward.
Lunch usually goes by pretty quickly. One donut, one sandwich, a trip to the bathroom, and then it’s back to work. I’ve never come back late from my lunch break, and my boss hasn’t bothered me about anything since the day I was hired. For a while, I thought it was only a matter of time before I got chewed out by someone, especially because you’d think that calling everyone in the phone book over and over would cause someone to report you or something. But no one ever does, probably because of how common spam calls are these days. Hell, even my answering machine is constantly filled with spam calls that are practically indistinguishable from each other. Doesn’t matter how many times you clear the machine, the calls always fill it right back up again at the end of each day.
Anyways, like I said earlier, my boss never needs to talk to me, so I must be doing something right. That said, the employee of the month at the call center always ends up being this guy named Ed Morales. I’ve never talked to Ed. I’ve never even seen him. I’ve only seen his picture in that “employee of the month” frame week in and week out. Sometimes, I think that whoever’s in charge of “employee of the month” just forgot about it, leaving Ed up there forever.
That said, I can live with not being employee of the month. I’ve gotten pretty fast at dialing those numbers, and I’m proud of the fact that I always finish going through the whole phone book by the time my shift ends. Also, thanks to the timing of my shift, I can drive home right before the evening traffic starts. Unfortunately, there’s not much to do back at my apartment. I don’t have a tv, and my laptop’s kind of buggy: it freezes up whenever I try to use the internet, and the date’s been stuck on the same day for a while. Whenever I try to order a new one, any evidence of my order disappears the next day. At least I always get a full refund by the time the order disappears, but it is annoying that everyone acts like I never ordered anything to begin with.
Speaking of my laptop, the clocks on the computers at the call center have also been stuck on the same date for a while. But maybe that’s to be expected in a town like this. Hell, things are so low-rent here that I haven’t even heard from my landlord in months. That said, I find ways to keep busy. Since my computer isn’t working right, and my clocks are all analog, I’ve been keeping a personal tally in my head to remember when the weekends and the holidays are. Originally, I tried using paper calendars to do this, but I always ended up losing them. Now though, through mental practice, I’ve got a pretty good grasp on what day of the week it is, and I’ve never been late or absent for a day of work. As my mom likes to say, “punctuality is what separates us from the beasts.” I should probably call her, but she hasn’t answered her phone ever since I started working at the call center. I wonder why that is.
Oh well. If I’ve got no one to talk to, at least I can start a diary.
Chris Zhang is a writer from California, USA. His greatest ambition is to be successful.