The sun rises late this morning, and when your alarm goes off, the gray-blue light barely peeks through your window. You glance over at your phone, laying askew on the nightstand atop a couple of paperbacks and an old napkin. Before it rudely interrupted you, you were having a wonderful dream where you were storming a castle and totally winning and you had just learned to fly and there were no failed classes or underpants on the flagpole or anything of the other usual nightmare fodder.
You have only a few seconds before the blaring foghorn tone overcomes your meager frustration tolerance.
If you hit snooze, go to 1.
If you turn it off and get up, go to 2.
If you turn it off, fully intending to get up, but then fall back asleep, go to 13
1) It’s a bit later and a bit lighter now that you’ve hit snooze about three times. Somewhere along the line, you’d lost the ability to fly anyway, so there’s no point in trying to recapture the magic. You look at your phone again and see that you’ve left yourself very little buffer time before the bus comes to take you downtown.
If you brush your teeth and forgo breakfast, go to 3.
If you get some breakfast and grab some minty gum for the road, go to 4.
If you wind up on Reddit on your phone while sitting on the toilet, completely missing the bus, go to 13
2) You pull together a passable outfit for the day, run a brush through your hair a couple times, and gargle some Listerine, reveling in the burning sensation recommended by four out of five dentists. You go to the kitchen and search through the pantry for something quick and easy to eat to fuel your commute.
If you pick a banana, some honey, and a bowl of instant oatmeal go to 5.
If you choose an everything bagel and heaping serving of cream cheese, go to 4.
3) Metabolism shmatabolism. You run out to catch the bus, fueled only by the knowledge that no one’s going to flinch at the smell of your breath this morning. You just make it to the stop in time and actually manage to find a seat towards the middle. You’ve got about twenty minutes to yourself.
If you packed an issue of The Economist to pull out and read at your leisure, go to 6.
If you put your earbuds in and listen to Morning Edition, go also to 6.
If you throw caution to the wind and play pixel dungeon on your phone until you get bus-sick, go to 13
4) You take your fragrant bagel on the road to save some time. So what if no one wants to come within three feet of your mouth. You’re feeling full and carb-loaded and that’s all that matters. You make it to the bus with minutes to spare and manage to take a seat in the front. The older woman sitting next to you turns to you and says, “My, what odd weather we’re having this week, isn’t it?”
If you nod simply and briefly add a little small talk, go to 7.
If you answer her question and go on to ask her for her life’s story, go to 6.
If you pretend you can’t hear her and bury yourself in your phone, go to 13.
5) You’re feeling good and your cholesterol is low by the time you get to the bus stop. You step on, pay your fare, and take a seat by the first window. You busy yourself with your library book and forget your surroundings for about three stops before you hear someone coughing loudly in front of you, trying to get your attention. You look up to see an older woman, leaning on her cane, looking pointedly at the sign above your chair that reads, “Seats reserved for those with ambulatory needs.”
If you shrug and pat the open seat next to you, go to 7.
If you apologize loudly and stand up to hold the ceiling rail for the rest of the trip, go to 6.
6) You get to work and head up to your desk. You grab the warm fleece out of the bottom drawer of your filing cabinet, since the powers that be have decided February is a great time to leave the air conditioning on. The morning passes with relative ease; you take a couple breaks for ergonomic reasons, chat up with your cubicle mates, and pick up the scuttle-butt at the water cooler. Now it’s time for lunch.
If you call up the Mexican restaurant next door for some fajitas, go to 8.
If, in an effort to save money, you harvest your midday calories from the vending machine in the break room, go to 9.
If you packed hummus and pita to eat alone and sad at your desk, go to 13.
7) After an awkward bus ride, you make it to work relatively unscathed emotionally. You sit down at your computer and log on, only to find about a hundred unread emails staring back at you. You sigh heavily, roll up your sleeves, and dive in. It takes you over an hour to get to inbox zero, but when you do, it feels like you’ve personally slain Sauron. In the afterglow of victory, you decide to take a short break.
If you go to the break room to grab a cookie from the vending machine, go to 9.
If you go to the cube next door and chat for a bit with your cube mate about the Grammys, go to 8.
If you go to Groupon.com to plan your weekend, giving yourself simultaneous cases of both the Mondays and FOMO, go to 13.
8) After work, your cube mate offers you a ride home and you gladly accept. As your driving, talking about the day and about the coming week, they ask you if you have any plans for dinner. They explain that they were going to go out to a movie later but their friends bailed on them.
If you say, “Sure, I’m up for a movie,” go to 10.
If you remember at the last minute that you promised your nephew you’d go to his band recital, so have to decline the movie invitation, go to 12.
If you’ve been dreaming about Netflix and chill all day and so make up some lie about having to go to your nephew’s band recital in order to get out of going to a movie, go to 13.
9) After work, the bus lets you off at your stop and you walk the two blocks to your apartment. Even with the early darkness this morning, it has shaped up to be a lovely day, if a bit brisk. You get inside your door, greeted by the warmth of your furnace and the promise of the next five hours all to yourself.
If you call up a couple friends and get them together for dinner and a showing of Deadpool, go to 10.
If you give yourself over to the gods of pizza and Netflix, binging yourself to sleep, go to 12.
If the smell of your crockpot dinner is calling to you and you enjoy it while watching reruns of Frasier, go to 11.
10) You successfully get to the end of the day. While lying in your bed, counting your blessings as you try to fall asleep, you can’t help but feel just a little proud. By all measures, you have conquered this Monday. Perhaps Tuesday will fall to the same fate. And Wednesday. And on down the line until you’ve scored a knock-out week.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
11) You are clearly a nerd and we should be friends. Do you also love the Freakonomics podcast? Hit me up on Facebook. We should talk about astronomy sometime.
12) It’s a war out there, and you fought the good fight today. As you lie in your bed, wondering where the day went, you realize you just did whatever you had to to make it through the day. All things considered, everything ended about average. You’ll try again tomorrow, of course, but the forecast doesn’t look emotionally promising until at least Thursday.
13) Unfortunately, you have failed this day. Regardless of what you do from here on out, this day is basically a wash. No one’s really surprised, though, and as you spend the remaining hours in a zombie-like stupor, just know that you’re not alone. Mondays have claimed a lot of victims.
Mary Margaret is a 2013 English, history, and secondary education grad who went rogue and became a Social Worker in Pennsylvania’s Child Welfare system. Specifically, she works as a caseworker in the Statewide Adoption and Permanency Network finding families for children and educating the masses about foster care, adoption, and permanency planning. She made it over the grad-school hurdle with gold stars and warm fuzzies and is on to the next big adventure: the unknown of adulthood. Her major writing dream right now is to finish her science fiction novel that explores the concurrent futures of child welfare and artificial intelligence.