Alarm. Second alarm. Mug of tea. Out of the door in one hour flat. I am the King of my commute, optimised to the point of perfection. Bound out of tube station. Ignore glum operative dispensing free advertorial. Approach office.
Retrieve pass from pocket. Nod to security guard on front desk. Wait. Crowd into lift with the bleary coffee-clutchers. Say hello to the neighbouring workers who get in even earlier than you. Never talk to them again all day. Hang coat in slightly rancid cupboard. Switch on computer. Keep fingers crossed this isn't the morning it wants a new password. Twiddle fingers. Dismiss nagging opportunity to update Adobe Flash Player. Open up email. Delete overnight spam filter report. Check phone in case something exciting has happened in the real world in the last five minutes.
"Morning morning morning." "How are you doing?" "Did you have a good evening?" "We went to that new place I had the chicken hearts it was literally like eating mushrooms." "We watched Game of Thrones, the new episode, then we did House of Cards." "Well, I think it's Leicester's to lose."
Email flashes in. Process email. File email. Check phone.
Someone has overdone the aftershave this morning. The boss briefly wanders the floor to chivvy. Someone has forgotten to go to a meeting. The lifts are always busy at the turn of the hour. A conversation full of three letter acronyms breaks out. Mug of tea.
The workforce sit passively at their terminals. The system drips micro-tasks into their field of vision. The cascade is never-ending. A monkey could probably do a lot of this. If the shareholders get their way, one day a monkey will do a lot of this. The landline hardly ever rings any more.
Two plastic tubs of cookies and mini traybakes have been unsealed on the cupboard beside the gangway. Someone else has baked cupcakes and brought them in for Hassan's birthday. Sophie's brought some untranslatable ethnic nibbles back from from holiday. Later a senior manager will buy doughnuts to keep everyone motivated. One or two of the thinner employees have a gym bag under their desks.
The sun nudges round a micro-fraction. Suddenly it becomes impossible for one poor soul to see their screen. The blind comes down. The sun nudges round. The blind never goes back up.
Mug of tea. Banter erupts at the hot water dispenser. "I like what you've done with your hair." "We were thinking of doing the new Thai this evening." "Yeah I'm working at the weekend." "We should definitely do that Crystal Maze thing as a team." The fridge is stuffed full of personalised cartons of atypical milk.
The photocopier's jammed again. The backup photocopier's out of toner. The slightly older photocopier that does the slightly blotchy copies will have to do. Janice's job will only take another four minutes, if you're patient.
Sandwich at the desk and a can of Coke. A Tupperware box from home full of leaves and pasta. Spicy reconstituted powder in boiling water. Some kind of four quid wrap. Chicken Cottage guzzled greedily with greasy fingers. That free sample instant curry the lady at the station dished out this morning. No time for lunch, deadlines to meet, head down.
An online meeting kicks off at someone's desk. It's a lot cheaper than going to Birmingham. The rest of us sigh, because we can hear every word (apart from the bits when the connection drops, and then we can hear every swear word). Sudden realisation that an unknown number of people in Birmingham can hear everything we're gossiping about.
Someone brings down a tray of leftover sandwiches from a meeting somewhere. They dry and curl as the air-conditioned afternoon progresses. All the pastries are rapidly swiped. A mini-quiche slowly sweats.
I need to sharpen my pencil. Where can I sharpen my pencil now nobody has their own bin any more? Someone's put half a sandwich in the paper recycling bin. Which recycling bin is it for cardboard? It doesn't say.
Clockwatch. Should have taken lunch a bit later to make the afternoon shorter. Mug of tea. Window open watching YouTube. Window open watching the BBC News live sports tracker. Window open checking Facebook. Rapidly-maximised spreadsheet.
Too many mugs of tea. A fellow employee trails behind you into the gents, then quickly nips into the cubicle rather than have to expose themselves beside you at the urinal. A strip of toilet paper lies discarded on the tiles. With a warning beep, the automatic air freshener pumps out a burst of artificial scent. It always takes two goes to get the drier to do both hands.
Return to your desk to find someone you've never seen before sitting in your chair having an impromptu meeting. "Oh do you want it back?" Thanks for asking. That blind is still down.
The workstream is never-ending. Have you done your objectives? Well done to Narinda for living our values. Would anyone like to volunteer to help out at the awayday? We're expecting another big desk move soon.
Clockwatch. Consider a final mug of tea. Clockwatch. Watch the clock in the bottom corner of your screen ticking round to hometime.
Clock ticks round. Close windows, log off, shut down, coat on, grab bag, head for exit. Depart into the big wide world, along with everyone else streaming for home. Pick up biased freesheet to read on train. Squeeze onto train into space too small to be able to open biased freesheet. Someone underdid the deodorant this morning. We are being held at a red signal and we should be moving shortly.
Traipse home from station. Mug of tea. Try to enjoy remainder of evening. Prospect of more of the same ad infinitum, if you're lucky.