A Day in the Life

5:15 AM – Today is Monday, which means early shift. I went to bed around 9:00 last night, but around 2:00 I woke up and checked the clock, wondering if I should let myself go into a deep sleep. With 3 hours left, I tell myself that I should just let myself sleep. Near the end, I wake up again and keep worrying that if I fall asleep, the alarm will go off. Finally, it does and I stay in bed a couple more minutes before getting up.

5:30 AM – I grab a few extra moments of sleep in the shower.

5:53 AM – I kiss JC goodbye and walk out the door, wondering whether it might be the last time I ever see her. It does seem a little paranoid, but it’s a good way to make sure you say goodbye to your loved ones the right way.

6:05 AM – For coffee I stop at McDonald’s, since it’s the only place that’s open. It comes with a Filet-O-Fish and a hash brown, valuable protein and carbs for later in the morning. I still have a few minutes so I sit at the bar table and open up my coffee, taking a few sips before covering it back up and inserting a straw into the little sippy hole. It will be useful for when I’m on the MTR.

6:20 AM – I’m sitting on the MTR, watching people reading their papers and playing with their phones. Sometimes I wonder if I’m wasting my precious time by just sitting or standing on the MTR doing nothing, but at the same time it’s too early in the morning to be craning my neck down to look at my phone. I prefer to keep my mind quiet and my neck unstrained.

6:35 AM – Now on the Tung Chung line, I see 3 of the same people that I saw last week. One of them turns out to be a cleaner in my building. It’s interesting how if you repeat the same patterns, sooner or later you’ll run into someone else who shares the same pattern. When I’m on late schedule I often run into the same girl heading in the opposite direction.

6:43 AM – Two escalators take me all the way up to the open square above, which I only discovered recently (not a loss though because the weather became walkable only recently). It’s a lot better walking in the open air than inside the shopping mall. The LVs, the Shanghai Tangs, the Piagets, the Piguets, boy it does get stuffy after a while. It’s monsoon season so the wind is strong this morning. The air is pretty clear, too, and I can see IFC across the harbor haze-free. Compared with last week, it’s darker. Pretty soon it will probably still be completely dark at this time.

6:53 AM – I get in to work and eat my hash brown before sending the first report of the day. It’s a weekly check of machines to make sure they’re all running OK. Everything checks out so I begin my rounds. It will take me over an hour and a half to do 5 floors, but in the end if it saves a flurry of calls later on, it’s worth it. As it is every week, a conference call starts playing on the phones. Words like earnings, outlook, and quarter accompany me on my walk. At the end (or actually, the beginning) of the day, it still is all about the money.

8:10 AM – Now I’m on the top floor, the penthouse. The decor is different up here. I rarely see the faces that occupy the seats and offices, because usually no one is in yet at this time. I walk into the office of the CEO, and it’s pretty bare, suggesting that she probably spends most of her time elsewhere. I wonder how someone becomes a CEO. The first thing that comes to mind is you know somebody. Of all the abilities people have, of all their Ivy League educations, the most important ability is to be able to interact with people, to get them to want to put you in a position of leadership. It probably helps if you inherently enjoy being around people. I think to myself that I’ll probably never become a CEO because of this one thing.

8:20 AM – That’s OK though, because now I’m finally done and I get to eat my Filet-O-Fish. I scarf it up (down) while I record the results of my walk. Now, my normal workday begins.

12:00 PM – Just like that it’s been a few hours. I’ve spent most of the morning multi-tasking: reviewing emails after being gone for the Thanksgiving holiday, responding to user queries, and following up on existing cases. Now it’s time to finally close out an old case, to switch out a user’s loaner machine for his real one. He’s a British guy and says “Cheers!” to me when I’m done. I answer “Cheers!” back, but I doubt I’ll ever get used to using this term in this manner. It belongs with a drink in my hand.

12:30 PM – Lunch time, but today we are understaffed so I stay at my desk to monitor the queue. I had brought my laptop to work so I could update my journal, too, carrying it in a big, bulky backpack. No matter, I do enjoy closing out tickets, and coming back from 4 days off it’s a little easier. I’ll call it a working lunch.

4:25 PM – The afternoon has been a whirlwind, dealing with tickets and users left and right. With 5 minutes left in my shift, a user desperately needs my help. I scramble trying to find him a solution, and finally I find what I’m looking for. I bring it up to him and connect it to his machine, and it works. Wow. It is there that I realize that it’s not just for him, but for his entire team as well. The moment of genuine gratitude from the users is the best part of the job.

4:48 PM – Finally in the elevator on my way out now. I send a message to JC to tell her I’m on my way home. Since it’s early shift today there’s no free shuttle until 5:00. Rather than wait, I take the MTR. It’s nice to be able to get a seat again, even if it’s for one stop. I’m not so lucky when I get to the Island line.

5:15 PM – I don’t get why people never move into the center of the car. I don’t get why people don’t vacate their seats for an old lady. That’s people for you. It will never change. If you are a government or someone in a position of leadership, you’d better take this into account.

5:29 PM – Home in less than an hour, and still less than an hour from my official off time. Not too bad, and dinner is about to be served, too. Tonight’s dinner is vegetable pancake and miso soup. Good stuff. I eat two bowls of rice while checking out the news every so often. Wow, so Occupy has deteriorated into this. I just wonder, in any relationship, what would happen if one party decided to completely ignore the other’s expression of concern, and then use forceful action to get them to stop expressing those concerns. Or, in other words, JC tells me something bothers her, I beat the shit out of her, realize that it’s the incorrect course of action, ignore her for a month, then two, then get a marriage counselor to order JC to suck it up, and then get tired of her nonstop complaining and beat the shit out of her again, all the while claiming she’s violating our marriage vows. Wonder how long I’d stay married if that were the case.

7:00 PM – We watch a show about the Vietnamese refugee situation in Hong Kong in the 80s and 90s. We have some ties to this community and it’s interesting to see the old footage. We wondered if we might see anyone we know. The funniest thing heard was a refugee saying that he felt like he was being played by God. He left Vietnam to escape communists only to find Hong Kong handed back to them again.

8:00 PM – It’s only the first day back but I’m exhausted already. This is the worst part, the energy cost I mentioned in this post. Even if there’s time, there’s no energy. I decide to go take a shower hoping it will refresh me a little. Before I go I pour myself a bottle of wine from the box I got for Thanksgiving. The boxed wine is pretty awesome, it’s vacuum packed so it keeps for weeks in the fridge. I just have to let it sit for a bit before drinking it.

9:29 PM – I had a nice shower but it didn’t really rejuvenate me. I came in to the office and started typing this. I wanted to type it this morning after reading another “day in the life” of a celebrity over the weekend. I’m no celebrity, but I wanted to see how I spend my day. If anything, it might help me organize my time better. You know, do the important things rather than the urgent things. It’s 9:30 PM now. My absolute deadline for bedtime tonight is 12:15. I’ll review and post this and then call it a night.

9:49 PM – Going to post now. Good night.

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