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Friday, June 09, 2006

Soda on a Friday

Soda pulled himself out of one of the numerous Zarqawi articles he was reading on his Google News feed. It was clear that he didn't understand the situation, nor the ramifications of Zarqawi's death on the stability of Iraq or on the status of troops currently stationed there.

He only knew two military guys anyway. Both had gone to flight school and both were stationed in the U.S. Iraq, aside from the political posturing it allowed him to do in friendly arguments, was meaningless to him.

It was Friday and Soda was bored. He had worked hard this week, finishing all the time-sensitive tasks that needed to be finished. If anything urgent needed to be done today, there was work that depended on others first. He shook his head, trying to clear out thoughts of the DS Lite, its release date looming. He would get his hands on his own little white piece of magical plastic and circuits in a few days; he didn't need to obsess about it like some junkie.

Soda remembered that there was going to be an office party this afternoon - one of the programmers was leaving - and made a mental note not to eat too much at lunch. He shouldn't gorge himself anyway; he was trying to lose weight for the upcoming wedding. Had he been trying harder, the elliptical machine sitting in his bedroom at home would not be idle all the time. He had run less than a mile this morning and had felt like dying after finishing. Shoving potato chips in his mouth and quickly pouring himself some water, he had cured his lightheadedness enough to take a shower and continue his normal routine.

Normally, mornings, he sat in front of the computer, barely dressed, playing games or paying bills or working on his portfolio. It was a routine that led to fatness, to complacency, and Soda hated it. Maybe running in the mornings would be his new routine, Soda thought. If I'm lucky.

Not that it would matter. He'd probably get a corn dog or some funnel cake from the arts festival booths at lunch today and erase whatever progress he had made this morning. Soda felt the length of the day stretch before him, sighed, and imagined he was still home in bed.

* * *

That morning, as Soda got on the bus, he noticed that it was more crowded than usual. He had left home a little earlier to clock more hours at the office. He didn't want to look like a slacker, even though he knew that clocking more hours didn't necessarily mean getting more work done. He moved to the back of the bus instinctively, following the friendly instructions on the windows. He sat down next to a black girl, across from a young white male wearing "urban" clothes. The girl immediately moved to join her friend, and a few stops later an Asian girl sat down next to him.

None of this would have mattered, would have registered at all to Soda (who, by a couple stops in, was usually buried in his DS anyway), except that he had resubscribed to Netflix. Last night, he had watched Oscar-winner (but not exactly Soda-winner) Crash. All of a sudden, Soda found that he had become more racist overnight. No, perhaps that wasn't the right term. He became more race-aware. He no longer viewed people simply as people. Much like the characters of Crash, he now viewed people as certain types of people.

Had the black girl moved because she didn't want to sit next to him? When his eyes met with the guy sitting across from him, did Soda reveal anything about his thoughts? Had the Asian girl sat next to him because Soda was Asian? It was all ridiculous, of course. The movie had been like one of those ridiculous high school specials on race, a Lifetime movie that was well shot and well executed but filled with the absurdities of someone who sees the world in racist streaks. Soda felt confident that Martin Luther King, Jr. would not have liked the movie.

* * *

Soda sat up. His coworker had just handed him some revisions to a document. It wasn't much, but it was work and it might be enough to occupy him until lunch. He stopped looking at his New York Times crossword day-calendar, picked up the sheets of paper, and dreamed of Nintendo.


beej said...

money where your mouth is! i like the new format. much more interesting then my blog...

8:38 PM  

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