My days often begin at the pit of the morning, when the sun is refreshed and longing to do what it has intended. There is a mechanical undercurrent that defines the movement of my limbs. A familiarity, if I may, in the way I accomplish any minuscule activity that I mentally list as a daily scheduled goal. 1. Stand from bed. My heavy body sluggishly responds to the alarm that shrieks and pierces its way into my cranium, causing an internal mechanism to jolt me awake as a result of the lifetime submergence in human conditioning. Similar to Pavlov’s dogs, my mind has grown accustomed to the sound as a natural occurrence. There is no thought, no pondering, only submissive action. My utmost terror has always been to live my life in a conditioned state of mind, always just a fraction away from breaking past the barriers of continuity but never quite tall or determined enough to climb the gate and reach the side containing greener pastures. Nonetheless, here I stand, imprisoned due to restrictions that are beyond my control. Restrictions implanted by limited finances, limited knowledge, and a rather increasing infinite inability to burst out the bubble that has confined me in fear of being cast as a peculiar outsider. I have always been a stubborn fighter, so there is that, and it has allowed me to make do with what is in my periphery. It is what has allowed me to awaken from my disheveled throne time after time. My mind becomes a faded mist of gray fog until my next task and then comes… 2. Work. It is long and agonizing as if I were stuck in a malfunctioning simulation. Nothing feels real and my smile is as phony as a clown in distressed makeup. My act is monotonous, a feeble attempt at engaging customers with my ‘outgoing’ yet ‘worldly’ personality. A tumultuous crowd of important looking men dressed in clean crisp dark suits and matching ties line up one after the other, lunch rush, the employees call it. The men all bare the same facial expression of high magnitude; mannerisms that indiscreetly shout Wall Street. Their crisp strong bone structures look through me, analyzing me in the similar manner that they do their stocks. Waiting and expectant. “Hello, how are you today, sir?” I ask, emphasizing that last bit to further accentuate that they are, in fact, of the higher caliber. “Good, how are you?” he will ask, friendly yet inquisitive. It is an attempt to level down at my microscopic and level of mediocrity. “I’m okay,” I lie but they don’t know that, now do they? Frankly, they do not care either. I mean, the transaction has barely pulled through, the green screen has yet to flash the bright “approved” as a sign that their payment has been verified when they are already past the register and out the door. I find myself exceptionally critical of those and yet, when I am approached by my next customer, they have barely made it when I am already preparing a bag for the next. How hypocritical of me to expect praise or even the slightest bit of feigned enthusiasm. Expecting something…anything that will tear the cycle of consistency and I would not even fathom the thought of allowing even a dent to penetrate the chain of events that make my day to day life.