SONGWRITER'S ITINERARY: WHY YOU'RE LATE
6:30AM: wake up automatically to the Get up Kids' Red Letter Day EP and complain to yourself that you've listened to the same five songs every morning this week. Get out of bed and turn the alarm clock off.
6:32: mechanically ascend the stairs in your parents' house to go make coffee. Make deliberate, predetermined motions, like a robot that has been programmed to make coffee perfectly, but not one that's been programmed to dance.
6:35: shower and try to remember the song lyric you thought of last night. It was something about angry drunks or something maybe having to do with country music. Think that perhaps your song lyric was about the Dukes of Hazzard. Remember that you used to watch it religiously, and the scenes of beer brawls were always the most interesting--when you were five. Get frustrated that you can't remember the actual line and hit your head against the shower nozzle. Shout: "Shit fucking Damn! Why did I do that?"
6:45: get first cup of coffee in white coffee mug with "#1 Nerd" in red stenciled lettering. Go back to your room and choose from 3 identical, red, company-issue polo shirts for work. Put Modest Mouse's Lonesome Crowded West in the CD player. Don't let your coffee get cold before you finish it.
6:55: feed Grover, the blue and red betta your sister got you for your birthday six months early. She told you then that he'd need food three times a day. Otherwise, he'll die. Laugh to yourself about the irony of any entity relying on you for sustenance as you sprinkle an exactly-measured six flakes into his bowl. This counts as one feeding today.
7:00: refill Nerd coffee mug -- your second cup today. Put on black dress pants and a plain white t-shirt while stepping over and around the acoustic guitars and cases that are strewn about your room. Think "I wish I was more organized." Make a daring plan to get more organized.
7:15: say "MotherofGod! I have to be at work at 8." Put your red polo shirt and cheap plastic Jay C Food Stores name tag on. The store name is easily four times as big as your name. Briefly doubt whether or not you actually work at Jay C.
7:20: convince yourself that you really do work at Jay C. Grab your coat and your Dad's black and red "Unite!" scarf. Try to focus through the early morning disorientation on what time to leave the house will put you at work on time.
7:25: go through mental checklist of things you need in order to leave. You have showered, you have had caffeine, and you are dressed. Realize that your keys are missing. Ask yourself "Where the hell are my keys?" Commence a search for them.
7:30: realize, with a reasonable amount of embarrassment, that the keys are hanging on a hook beside the door, where you always hang them. Grab them and decide to leave hurriedly so that you can be on time for work.
7:31: remember the song lyric, "Angry drunks with steel guitars are pouring out clichés on the radio." Search frantically for paper and pen to scribble it down before it escapes into your brain.
7:32: read back over song lyric scribbles. Think "Did I think this shit was good?" Sit and try to correct the line's errors.
7:35: ask yourself, "Why the hell do I care about what's on the radio?" Try to think of a realistic application for this song lyric. Fail.
7:36: think that the rhythm of the words in the line is totally wrong for any song in any time signature that you will ever be able to write in. Try to delete syllables to make it fit a more standard time signature. Write "Mad drunks crapping clichés on the radio" onto the paper.
7:40: the biggest problem with the song lyric will still seem to be that there is no way you'll ever have a use for it. Try to add related lyrics to make it seem less out of place. Think that the line would fit well in the background of a Dukes of Hazzard episode. Fail to come up with any more lines that fit that theme.
7:41: experience the worst case of writer's block in the entire history of the universe. Sit and stare at the two illegible scribbles in despair.
7:45: realize that, while working on the song, you have become late for work and that the song is entirely hopeless. Refill Nerd mug...again...and head out into the fifteen-degree chill.
7:46: look in awe at the new subdivision scenery, now freshly covered with snow and ice. Think that winter is the most beautiful season of the year.
7:47: scrape frost off of your windshield while the car warms up. Curse the goddamn winter, the month of February, and the Ohio River Valley.
7:50: get in your car and leave for work. 80 miles an hour over the ice-covered rural interstate will suddenly seem reasonable.
8:10: arrive at the Jay C grateful you weren't pulled over. Park in the employee parking spaces along the side of the building where there are no ice patches and go inside. Laugh because you realize that customers will still have to park where there are ice spots.
8:12: stop in the break room to grab a fourth cup of coffee to warm back up. Walk over to the produce department to try to explain to your manager why the hell you're so late.
8:15: fail in explaining yourself to your manager. Try to unload the whole damn produce truck by yourself in the 40-degree cooler. Realize that that's way too much work for just one person today. Slack off and tell your manager stories about all of your ex-girlfriends that dumped you via e-mail.
Simon McKim is a studnet of philosophy and literature at Indiana University Southeast. He likes music and co-edits the new zine Bloviate This.