How do you keep your head above water? When you’re shoulder-deep in the stresses of life, do you just paddle along and hope to reach shore? Do you reach out to the first available source of help? Rarely are we just suddenly thrown into the murky stress waters that can consume us. We can usually see it coming. The sooner we identify that we’re about to hit those waters, the faster we can get out.
A new ticket appeared at the top of the ticket system’s list. High priority! “obscura4 down!” The second-level computer repair technician tasked with managing the queue, Sammohini, read through the ticket details. In the private notes, the first-level technician noted “customer says venkat always fixes this. hes out sick. does we need 2 call him?” She assigned the ticket to herself. ‘No one’s here,’ she thought, ‘and Venkat’s out sick, poor guy… let’s find his notes!’
A customer complained to me about his wife’s technological irresponsibility. “I’ve got an audience, so let me tell you…” and though his rationale was sound – yes, you should be careful with expensive technology – I applied their seemingly rocky relationship to Trishna [left] and John [right]. How much will they accept or tolerate of each other’s faults? I’ve always imagined “The Story” to be primarily a nice story about two friends. Will they have sore spots?
Spoilers?: Minor (exploring character traits)
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“Have you noticed any changes with me over the last two years?” “I’m not sure. I don’t have a very good memory about that sort of thing.[1,2]” It’s been two years since I started Better Zombie. Then, I inconsequentially wasted time and money for hedonistic reasons. Now, I constantly strive to better myself, my work, and my environment through each of my writings. I’m still hedonistic, sure, I just act with more purpose. Let’s time-travel:
My water bottle clanged on the floor. “Sorry a-bough-t that.” I said as I swooped up the offending bottle in a half-dozed stupor. “It’s uhh-kay.” Would life be better without these sorts of embarrassing interactions? Without these grimy grimaces, how can we know what glittery glory feels like? Perhaps it would be nicer to be free of stress, anxiety, and worries over the thises and thats of life, but sometimes that friction leads to more!
“You look sicker than normal.”
The younger furniture mover reclined in her seat, cradling her dark-orange water bottle.
“Yeah. I feel it, too.”
The older mover readjusted his faded red cap and looked over.
“Maybe you should go home?”
She looked pale.
“My nausea is tolerable, headache manageable… and I need the hours.”
The older mover started up the truck for their morning route.
“At least it’s a short run. We should be back by 11.”
I’ve been writing and rewriting “The Story,” scene after stochastic scene, for as long as I can remember. An idea will pop up while I’m riding the bus, talking to someone, or reading a book. I’ll see a couple on the bus and think about John [left] and Trishna [right]. Better than stressing about work! In these situations, memories, or maybe more, I wonder: how much of “The Story” will be based on real people?
Meal portions are too large. It takes a certain discipline to have a meal, like this 5-star chicken alfredo, decide to only eat half, and commit to that. Especially when the second half won’t be as good: the chicken too cold, the spaghetti too burned, the atmosphere too dull. Yet, practicing the discipline to say, “no, I’m good” to overindulgence is probably the third greatest feeling in life. This delaying gratification becomes easier with practice.
Sammohini Lanchester: anything i can help you out with?
Hank Ospfrey: I’m good. Let’s check on Venkat.
Both computer repairers met Venkat is his area near their cube farm.
“Rokastaar, Suparastaar. How is it going?”
Their team’s veteran swiveled around in his chair.
“Anything we can help you out with, Venkat?”
“Not now. I have no work right now.”
“Doesn’t happen too often, huh, ‘Bhaee’?”
“Does not happen often. Nils is also sick.”
If there were one day of the year to practice healthy self-respect, it’d be your birthday. We continually sacrifice ourselves for others throughout the year. Why not reclaim our autonomy on our birthdays? Do what you enjoy doing most, do nothing, or do something ambitious! In “The Story,” Trishna [right] and her family have that attitude toward birthdays, so when John [left] has his first birthday as part of “the family,” it’s a culture shock.
Spoilers?: Minor (just character building)
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