I stepped off the train. This was the first time I’ve seen Penn Station this empty. And I was glad. I wore a baggy hat, a baggy scarf, a baggy coat, and even had four things in the coat pockets. Then I had one baggy bag on one shoulder, and another baggy bag on another shoulder. I felt fat – the extended kind of fat; the kind of fat that made me walk sideways through the train door; the kind of fat that made me glad it was the morning after Thanksgiving. The commuters who would usually crowd up this platform, those who secretly wished each other to be pushed onto the tracks and run over; those who locked their eyes on their Blackberry or phone or newspaper so that they could pretend they didn’t mean to as they pushed each other out of the way, were now either sleeping in the warmth of their homes or pushing each other out of the way at the Black Friday sales. Ah the Black Friday sales. I thought about going, too, but I was too baggy of a person to survive in a jungle of uncivilized shoppers. On top of that, where would I find money to buy anything in this economic depression?
Speaking of depression, a lot of those used-to-be commuters must be crying in the warmth of their homes after series of layoffs by just about every major employer. I should probably work harder to avoid the next wave of layoffs. After all, I won’t regret never experiencing the Great Depression myself. That’s right, I should work harder. Came into mind was the project plan that I should’ve sent out two days ago but didn’t go out because I skipped out of work early. Skipping work sort of contradicted working hard, neither did missing deadline. Maybe… I should work harder. Stepping out of the tunnel to the brisk Seventh Avenue morning chill, I decided to walk toward the office on this holiday.
Putting down the left shoulder bag, the right shoulder bag, the baggy hat, scarf, and coat, I breathed a sigh of relief. The relief from being extendedly fat. Oh yeah I also took out the four things from the coat pockets and left them on my office desk. The bags were really heavy because of the vodka and rum that I brought for the Thanksgiving dinner with family. Good stuff they were, but the problem was that there were too much good stuff. Who ever thought of drinking vodka with turkey, and who in the right mind cared for a mojito on a wintery night? Ice wine beat them out in popularity, so they only served as decorative bottles after being unfrozen from my fridge and frozen and unfrozen again in the family fridge. I brought them from Queens to Manhattan to Queens to Manhattan to Jersey and back in Manhattan again. They were soon to return to Queens without even being opened. They might make the record for the most travelled hard liquor. I suddenly wanted a rum & coke.
My thirst for the rum & coke escalated. No reason, honestly, or maybe there was a reason. I stared at the water bottle next to the laptop and then stared at the coffee mug next to the phone. Would it not be interesting to drink, and by drink I mean the happy hour sort of drinking, right here in this office? I’d have consumed enough liquids and caffeine in this stressful environment so maybe it’s time to try something different while nobody was here to lay me off. This would be the first time I drank in the morning and it’d be the first time I drank in the office. Actually that sounded like Great Depression already.
I walked into the kitchen to find coke for my rum & coke. I didn’t need much; just a little bit to symbolize this office drinking event would be enough. I walked toward the fridge and was amazed by the number of water bottles left in there… I must not be the only one who skipped work before Thanksgiving. When people work hard or moderately hard or even slack off just a little bit, the daily supply of water wouldn’t last more than three hours. So, good, there was water. And there was Hawaiian Punch and Canada Dry and Seltzer Water. No Coke. No joke. Ah. It’d be pretty hard to make rum & coke with no coke. And by no Coke, I meant there was no Pepsi, either. There wasn’t even a diet version of either of those left, not that I’d ever be sad enough to resort to a diet soda. Damn it. I opened the fridge and closed it. The nasty free sample of Pom Iced Coffee that I put in there was still in there. How come nobody wanted to try it? And how come there was no Coke?
Frustrated, I took out a can of Hawaiian Punch and walked back toward my cubicle. It wasn’t exactly that sad, actually, because now I could make vodka punch. In fact, I’d much prefer vodka over rum. I sat down in my nice ergonomic office chair, thinking how comfy this chair was and how the chiropractor told me that no matter how good the chair was working twelve-hour days in it would still be really bad for my back. I reached into the bag that used to be on my left shoulder and unwrapped the t-shirt and plastic bag around the frosted glass bottle. I pulled out the 750ml Grey Goose and it was dripping water from the defrosting process from the freezer. I pulled the cork out of the bottle neck, and noticed a slightest scratch on the beautifully frosted glass bottle. Damn it. When did I scratch this? I carefully examined the little white marks next to the “40% ALC/VOL” label, and wondered if the defect came with it from the liquor store. Sigh. Oh well. I bought this Grey Goose for the vodka; for the beautiful bottle I still had my Belvedere at home. No need to think too much at this point. Remember how I came into the office so I could work harder? I poured two drips of Grey Goose into the paper cup of ice, and filled it with Hawaiian Punch. A droplet of the hot pink beverage remained on the top of the can. I licked it off. I held up the paper cup and had a sip of my first cocktail in the office. Oh this was also the first time I had a cocktail from a paper cup.
I looked at the scratch on the Grey Goose bottle one more time and thought about this short essay that I read the other day. It inefficiently used a lot of words to describe a small scene, going on paragraphs after paragraphs without really telling any story. I thought it was an interesting essay, and now I thought I could try to write something like it. Putting down the frosted glass bottle, I decided that I’d write an essay just like it but in English. Maybe I would also mention in the essay how I needed to work harder and send out the project plan.