The Fuckup Citizen
You awake from a restless sleep; open your eyes and stare up at the ceiling with concern. It was just a dream, right? but reality still feels off. You look around, everything seems to be in place.
Some posters are slightly tilted, and the round mirror next to you has disappeared. But, has it always been there? As you glance around the room your eyes settle on the family portrait on your side table. It looks different: your siblings are pulling funny faces, it seems like your dad’s about to say something, and your mother is looking at him with disapproval. You look awful, mouth twisted, one eye half closed and the other rolled. It’s a terrible picture.
You continue scanning the room to make sure everything’s how it should be. Now you stumble upon the clock. You’re half an hour late for work.
You leave your apartment quickly, worrying about your appearance, you try to fix your hair and remove the wrinkles on your clothes. You couldn’t find a mirror at home. You head to work at a hurried pace. As you pass your local newsstand, something catches your eye:
“It was not the best decision, further corrections ahead.”
Exclaims a newspaper headline. Below is a picture of the president. It’s definitely not her best photo, it reminds you of the funny faces of your siblings at that family portrait. You pick up a copy to continue reading the article.
“In a press conference, the president recognized that the agreements for the mobility reforms reached last month were not the ideal. After sharing the report, the total loss of the project was made public: $4 million…”
You’re stunned. You can’t believe that your egocentric and arrogant president is sharing that kind of compromising information. You continue reading a few lines below:
“… next week, a special meeting with the National Failure Assembly will be convened to find the best solution, develop a post-mortem analysis, and create new adjustments and follow ups with the president.”
With your head in the newspaper you suddenly feel a strong impact. You’ve walked into someone, the girl offers an apology, an oddly sincere and authentic one. You snap yourself out of that small trance and continue on your way to the office. You’re later than ever.
As you hurry through the streets, you rehearse your excuse for being late, say goodbye to your punctuality bonus, and plot the best route for avoiding your angry boss on the way to your cubicle.
As you enter the building, instead of a rowdy lobby full of obnoxious individuals in suits and ties, you’re greeted by a space which is unrecognizable from the usual hustle, crammed elevators and long faces. People appear chilled in jeans, dresses, some are a little scruffy or even in pajamas.
You go up in the elevator and rush towards your office. Suddenly you plow into your boss. Taking a deep breath, you prepare to recite your well-rehearsed excuse. However something else arises from your throat, a tiny weird spark that forces you to say:
-Sorry I’m late. I overslept.
Your boss breaks out laughing and gives you an awkward pat on the back.
-No problem, I’ve sent over today’s meeting presentation. Will be back later to finish some pending stuff before leaving for vacations. See you tomorrow.
For a second you forget your boss’ odd behavior and try to find the time attendance terminal. That damned salary and peace stealing device. It’s gone.
When entering the office, you fake calmness about the whole situation, and decide to catch up with your colleagues. You soon discover that some have gone remote for the day, and others have quit to fully focus on their personal projects. You manage to work for a couple of hours, but your restless mind makes it hard to go on. Everything seemed normal yesterday, the high stress levels, the urgent reports, the deep dissatisfaction and the overall hate of the boss. Where’s it all gone?
You need to go out for some fresh air. You slowly stand up from your chair and discreetly look side to side, fearfully seeking your boss’ inquisitive stare, although you know he’s not there, it’s an acquired habit.
As you go out and look around more thoroughly, you find yourself in a different space. Although everything remains in place, something still feels different. Once again, you stop at the same newsstand as earlier, but this time you take a closer look.
Those beauty magazines seem a little less aggressive. The business journals tell different stories: “Tips to overcome a crisis”, “Top 5 mistakes of the week”, “Fired for the first time? Be part of our community”, “Subscribe to the financial losers.”
You’re reading out of the ordinary things everywhere: “Get the brand unedited book edition: Cold war: the winners and losers version”, “Look for your mental health, one job at a time”, “Discover why the vaccine didn’t work out”, “Apply for your Vocational Passion Fund grant”, “You’re not your job”, “I fucked up”, “Fuck numbers, this is how companies are measuring goals”.
So many letters and lines start to make your mind dizzy, you feel like you’re starting to topple over as your feet slide like on ice across the sidewalk.
You regain balance thanks to the two people that stopped to hold you up. Who are these kind and carefree people? Where am I?
Maybe you’ll take tomorrow off to find out, but for now, you return to the office
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Content & typos creator. Rich runs Fuckup Nights blog, newsletter & social media. He probably posted this blog by himself, and thinks it’s awkward to write his own bio. Fuckuppin’s mom.