Becky’s shift started at nine o’clock. She shared an office with Janice, whose shift started an hour later. Becky would be well engaged in her work–typing memos, emailing reports, reviewing spreadsheets–by the time Janice would drop her mighty purse on her desk, noisily swing the door to hang up her jacket, and make a loud, tired pronouncement about whatever day of the week it was. These pronouncements would echo in everything Janice would say to her officemate or passersby for the first and last two hours of her shift, when she seemingly had an acute awareness of the day of the week. Becky liked to keep communication with Janice to a minimum and dreaded her ten o’clock arrival.
Recently, Janice had taken to complaining about her “case of the Mondays,” a term she happily and unironically confessed to lifting from Office Space. This “case of the Mondays” apparently had infected the neighboring Tuesday. Thursday was the interminable countdown to Friday and Friday was the interminable countdown to five o’clock.
But Wednesday was “hump day.” And this day was Wednesday.
Becky stared into her computer monitor, unable to concentrate on the scores of emails that required her attention. Instead, she was fixated on the time: “9:59 AM.” Right on schedule, she could hear Janice’s voice approaching from down the hall. The sound of Janice’s feet hitting carpet were amplified in Becky’s ears, thunderous and malicious. Becky’s fingers, at rest on the home row, tensed and involuntarily typed “jafkl;d” into a report to the district supervisor.
Without looking up, Becky knew Janice was now in the office with her: the air was stuffier; it reeked of cheap perfume. Becky grinded her teeth. Janice slammed her purse down on her desk, its contents jingling and crinkling in cacophony. Becky’s eyes strained and her vision blurred.
“It’s Hump Day!” Janice croaked melodically. Becky moved her lips mockingly. Janice maneuvered around the office. “I made cupcakes!”
Becky looked up from her monitor. Janice towered over her desk, grinning generously. She extended to Becky a plastic container populated with chocolate and vanilla cupcakes. Atop each one, inscribed in icing, were the words, “HUMP DAY!”
Becky smiled in return. She delicately plucked the chocolate cupcake nearest her from the container. “Thanks, Janice,”
“You’re welcome, hon. We’re halfway there, aren’t we?” Janice chirped. Becky had already stuffed her mouth full with cupcake. She nodded. Janice laughed. “We’ll get there. Hump Day’s just two days away from Friday!”
Janice made delicious cupcakes.