Start on a Monday. Wake up listening to the alarm clock. Yes. Listen to the beeping and chirping and the vibrating of your phone. “Wuurrrrrr, wuurrrrrr, wuurrrrrr” it says. It’s time to get up. It’s time to take a shower. Walk half-naked towards it remembering the dreams you used to have and notice you stopped having them. Your nights are empty and silent. Waking up is like a lost dream, where edges blur and clocks make little sense. Each step booms around you, echoing through your apartment in unison with the slowing heartbeat in your chest. You’re dying. Hearts aren’t meant to beat this slow.
Take a shower and get dressed. It doesn’t matter what clothes you wear. Get in your car and drive and take the elevator to your office. Sit down. It’s what you do best. To sit. Take orders from your boss and reply: Yes, sir. No, sir. Yes, sir. You’ve had worse jobs, and even though what you do is meaningless, to occupy your wasting brain makes time fly by. You’re back home in no time. A quick microwave dinner stuffs your stomach before it gets to growl. Sit down. Watch Netflix. Fall asleep on the couch and wake up forty minutes later with drool dripping from your cheek. Stumble towards your bed half-remembering the times when your mom carried you back. You’ll call her one of these days, when you’re less busy. Sleep.
Repeat these instructions with only slight variations on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
Sunday is your day off. Wake up. Take a shower. Eat a cereal and sit down. Receive a call from your brother. Be asked what you’ve been up to. Reply not much. Be asked how you’re doing. Say you’re doing all right. Ask the same questions, receive the same answers. Hang up.
Think. Not all manuals include this step, let me tell you. By acknowledging this will happen, though, we can eliminate the element of surprise, and the event will be, although no less painful, expected.
Think of the questions your brother asked. Count the days you’ve lived up to now. Realize you can’t remember yesterday, or the day before, or the week before. Find out, for the twentieth time, your life is monotony. You have been driving down this featureless road for years, and it doesn’t seem to end. The horizon stretches even further than when you first saw it. Days blur together and the nights disappear. There are more memories from middle school, in which you spent three years, than from your current job in which you’ve spent six. Pinch yourself to make sure you’re still alive. Verify that indeed, you are.
Chug a beer and sit down. Watch Netflix. Fall asleep on the couch. Wake up forty minutes later. Cry.
It’s Monday. Get to the office and take the elevator. Be seen by a co-worker. Let her ask: “Are you okay?” Say, you’re fine. Listen to her say: “You don’t look fine.” Admit that you’ve had better days. Receive a recommendation for a great song that will pick your day up. Go to your desk and work. Rationalize no song could make a difference in your life and how could she be sure it would pick your day up, she’s not a wizard, and she’s full of shit. Listen to the song. Feel a little better. Raise the left side of you mouth slightly. Don’t let it be a smile.
Get home. Eat dinner with a beer and watch Netflix standing up. Be sleepy and walk to bed. Sleep.
On Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, don’t talk to your co-worker, instead listen to the song she recommended every day. Remember to only raise the left side of your mouth. Only a little, and less with each passing day. Don’t let it be a smile. Grow bored with the song. Cry.
Ask your co-worker if she knows of another good song. Let her email you a link to a Spotify playlist she put together. Listen to her say it’ll change your life. Decide her words are bullshit. Play the list. Feel a little better. Smile. Repeat these last three steps. Smile a little less each day. Listen to the list until it grows old and bores you. Until it no longer makes you smile. Don’t cry.
Look for other artists, listen to their albums, play their singles, grow bored with them all. Stop smiling. Dream the first dream in a long time, and when your brother asks you on Sunday what you’re up to, tell him about the music. Think about the monotonous road and about your co-worker. Consider what a fucking wizard she is.
Get to work and say thanks to her. Pay attention to her smile. As an optional step: Smile, too.
Get home. Eat dinner with a beer and play music. Wonder what life would be like if it didn’t exist. Wonder why it all gets old. Wonder what made it any good. Realize that songs end, and they’re good because of it. Figure out that listening to the same thing over and over, no matter how good, gets boring. Let the music play. Let it end. Smile. Keep smiling.