Posts in Category: Day Jobs

Daily Caffeine Withdrawal Update

This is the first in what will be a daily series, until I forget and stop writing them.

I think it’s important to remember that yesterday was a Monday when I write that I decided not to switch to green tea as I mentioned earlier. Mondays are widely regarded by corporate drones and office- and cat-themed comic-strip writers as the worst day of the week. So cut me some slack.

This morning I made the switch to green tea. It goes down a little more smoothly than coffee. This is mainly fortunate because it has such an awful taste and texture that I want to drink it as quickly as I can. It also saves me just a few minutes in the morning, which I guess is nice. I spend it reflecting on my life. I’ll start coffee again tomorrow.

As far as actual withdrawal symptoms, I feel a little bit more sluggish, and I started to have a bit of a hard time concentrating in the afternoon, but none of this is any worse than when I switched to mid-morning green tea two weeks ago. Assuming this trend continues, I can look forward to a mild headache this evening, followed by an extremely difficult time getting up tomorrow. With any luck, I’ll get used to it before the end of the week.

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Feeling Better?

I took Thursday and Friday off because my dad is on vacation this week, and we needed to install the bathroom fan. He asked me last weekend, after he and my mother had failed—for a second weekend in a row—to properly install it, “How much do you know about electricity?”

I flashed on the five-minute crash course we had on how not to blow a fuse with film lights, my vague recollection of the various formulae and wattages pooling together into a soupy lack of remembrance. I told him the truth: “Almost nothing.” I suggested that perhaps my sister, who spends the majority of her life fucking around with electrical wiring, might be helpful, but my dad helpfully pointed out that she’s a girl, and he doesn’t want to be humiliated by his incompetence. He wants both of us to be humiliated by our combined IQ of 14, because we inevitably failed and had to call my sister for help. Then we failed again; yes, the fan now officially works, but only by flipping the switch in the other bathroom.

“Who cares about your bathroom fan?” you, impatient gentle reader, are undoubtedly asking right now.

“Nobody,” I can respond safely, and fortunately for you, this entry isn’t really about that.

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The Thr3e

You might recall I was recently asked, and by that I mean forced against my will, to do the job of myself, a guy who got fired, and a guy who quit. On top of that, they added another layer of responsibility to the job I’ve been doing all along, which essentially means that what I’m doing takes twice as long as it used to. I described my fear of not being able to handle the workload but also secretly wanted to prove myself that I could, in fact, do the job of three (three and a half?) people without any additional pressure.

Yes, gone are the three-hour lunches, excessive breaks and mysterious disappearances from my desk. But I was only doing that because I had nothing to do. I still take a full hour for lunch, plus two-half hour breaks (essentially doubling the amount of breaktime I’m allotted), and I’m still leaving half an hour early because fuck this job, and yet…now that I caught up on the other guy’s work and got into the groove of all the new crap I have to do—

I performed the daily workload of three (three and a half!) people, with ample breaks, by myself. For a fleeting moment I was proud of that. I proved to myself I could do it, and now I feel better. Now I’ll go back to being lazy, and let us never speak of this again.

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Daily Caffeine Withdrawal Update (2)

I felt extremely tired this morning, and it was kind of hard to concentrate. My eyes kind of sting, and I know part of that is the fluorescent lights and the computer monitor, but part of that is the faux-weariness effect of caffeine withdrawal. I got a very mild headache around 1:15 this afternoon. I still have it, but it’s so minor that I can’t even really notice it unless I think about it.

All in all, not too bad.

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Daily Caffeine Withdrawal Update (3)

I had a splitting headache around 9 o’clock. It went away around lunchtime.

I’ve been cranky and irritable all day. I know the bulk of this is the caffeine withdrawal, but I can still attribute a big chunk of it to the fucking assholes who don’t know how to do their fucking jobs and therefore prevent me from getting my job done or, if not that, make it take five times as long to do. And my superior didn’t help. “We like to get as much processed on Thursdays as we can. Stay late if you have to.” FUCK OFF.

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It’s not officially winter in Chicago until we have a snowstorm near or during rush hour. Driving home was an incredible joy, especially the part where I stupidly attempted a U-turn and almost ended up in the ditch next to Bennigan’s. Assuming I wasn’t dead or severely injured, I would have eaten before I called a tow truck.

I’ll explain why I made this stupid U-turn. Higgins Road is that northwest-southeast street running across most of the image. Route 53 runs north-south and connects I-90 to the 290 extension (which loops around and reconnects with 90 downtown). Notice Higgins has three full lanes. And each expressway entrance has two turn lanes. I’m not sure when this satellite photo was taken, but since, that intersection the Bennigan’s has had lanes painted across the intersection, because everybody knows it’s a total clusterfuck. Imagine, if you will, a group of assholes who simply can’t wait through all that traffic that accumulates in the right or left lanes in Higgins before the turn lanes form. They get into the middle lane, then try to cut up and over. Ninety percent of the time, it works, because the people in the right and left lanes are equally stupid; they just drive more slowly.

And then there’s me, knowing these tricks, knowing the center lane is the only game in town, because I don’t want to get on the fucking expressway; I want to stay on Higgins.

Then a snowstorm hits. And the people who cut up and over actually think this strategy will work during a snowstorm, when traffic isn’t really moving on the expressway at all. What, do they think every car in the right lane stalled? Do they think maybe some sort of magic teleportation device will make it magically reappear on the expressway, ahead of all the stopped cars? These people are the reason the expressway gets backed up to begin with. (Admittedly, I drive like a total asshole, but at least I’m a conscientious asshole…most of the time.)

So yeah, rather than two lanes of traffic moving at a crawl, plus the pretty-much-stopped expressway entrances, and one center lane kinda-sorta moving…no traffic was moving at all past the Bennigan’s. Because the assholes were trying to cut ahead anyway, so there were five or six cars just sitting there, doing nothing, with turn signals on, waiting for the other lanes to move enough so they could squeeze in. What a bunch of fuck-ups.

So I turned around and went a different way, and my boiling rage gave way to the mild amusement I always have when driving in a storm—snow or rain—when the assholes who drive the giant, four-wheel-drive sport-utility vehicles drive like the biggest pussies on earth.

It typically takes me 20 minutes to get home; today it took more than twice that. Good times.

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Daily Caffeine Withdrawal Update — Late Weekend Edition

Friday: I had an awful day, but not because of caffeine.

Saturday: For some reason, the withdrawal symptoms seem to have more of an effect on the weekend. Maybe it’s because I wake up later, so it throws off the timing. I don’t really know.

Sunday: Pretty much the same as Saturday. Sluggish, headachey, and unable to concentrate. I also read somewhere that caffeine helps short-term memory; apparently lack of caffeine worsens short-term memory. No, it’s not like Memento or anything; I can still remember things, but it takes a lot longer and requires more concentration. And, you know, since my concentration skills suck, Sunday: Pretty much the same as Saturday. Pretty much the same as Saturday.

Monday: Not too bad. In the morning, I spilled a bunch of piping hot, foul-tasting green tea on my crotch. Not my best moment.

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Free Gas!

My “low tank” light came on during my lunch break, as I was driving up Meacham Road. Fortunately, there’s a BP right at Golf. I kinda hate BP for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that it makes my car run assier than usual, but my car doesn’t give me a whole lot of warning before flashing the “low tank” light, so desperate times…

As I filled my tank, and this portly, middle-aged gentleman holding a clipboard walked up to me and exclaimed, “How would you like some free gas?!” The jovial tone in which he said this made me think if I said “yes,” he’d fart in my general direction. Instead, he went into this weird, long pitch about how if I “took a survey,” he’d give me a free $50 gift card for 93 octane gas (which, with these prices and the premium gas, probably wouldn’t even be enough to fill my tank—but still, paying $0 is better than paying $50).

I said, “Okay,” and was about to add, “But only if it doesn’t take long,” when he started in with the questions.

“Do you live in Illinois?”


“Are you over the age of 21?”


“Are you licensed and insured to drive in the state of Illinois?”


“Okay, that’s it,” he said, slipping me the gift card. Then he whipped out the clipboard and insisted I sign an affidavit saying that he did, in fact, ask me those questions. I gave a fake address, took the card, and drove away. I’m…not actually sure it’s legitimate. It seems a little bit too good to be true, but I dimly remember reading a similar tactic being used in the ’70s—gas prices too high? Well, we’ll just give you some free gas, loyal customers. So I snicker at the fact that I’ll use this gas card next time I fill up my tank, and then I’ll probably never use BP again unless it’s another emergency situation.

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Training Day

They hired a temp to assume my responsibilities. Not because I’m obscenely incompetent—surprisingly, it’s quite the opposite—but because I have been promoted. Not a big promotion—no pay raise, and the meaningless title that I had before now becomes somewhat meaningful—but just a small step up. Because of that, I no longer do the shit I did before, and they don’t have enough people to go around, so…a temp, until they can hire someone full-time.

The temp started Monday, and I specifically asked on Friday if I would be expected to train her. Because, you know, the only thing I hate more than dealing with people is teaching people how to do something a trained ape could do. They told me I wouldn’t have to train her, but I’d have to take up the slack (i.e., continue doing what I’ve already been doing) until she becomes proficient, at which point they’d teach me my New Tasks and Responsibilities.

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Free Lunch

Since I’ve started working here, we’ve had free lunches, on average, about once every two weeks. I never, ever partake of the free lunch. “Why?” you ask, knowing of my enjoyment of all things free, especially when said free things are food.

Because I’m paranoid to an unhealthy degree, I see free corporate lunches this way: they don’t pay you what you’re worth, so they give you a “free” lunch (that, technically, would be considered compensation if only we were paid in food, the most delicious currency of all) to keep the worker man fat and happy. It makes you forget about stuff like, for example, not getting paid what you’re worth, or the fact that you have to work until 9 o’clock every month when you close. It also, in many cases, forces people to “work through” lunch. Because when they have food delivered, you really are supposed to sit there and eat it at your cubicle while working.

The first time I experienced this phenomenon was back in the olden days, when I worked in a warehouse. Two or three times a week, when we’d finish loading a truck, we’d be greeted by a catering table loaded with subs or pizza or fried chicken or whatever the hell else they wanted to give us. That way, instead of taking our full hour, we’d stand there yammering while we ate for fifteen minutes, and then we’d go back to work. Of course, at that place we were hourly, so if we worked through lunch we got overtime, and overtime means not only is the lunch free—it’s free plus time and a half.

I would gladly abuse the free lunches there, but not here. It’s a different circumstance, and it reeks of bullshit. The whole idea makes me uncomfortable.

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