My name is Bob. I’m a balding man in my mid-fourties. I live alone, in a one bedroom apartment on the East side of Tucson. Known mostly for its dangerous and seemingly uneducated drivers, this town isn’t so special. Gets hotter than hell, even some days in Winter. And the East side of town is pretty much the new South side — ghetto, rundown buildings that have been long neglected, crack heads working the corner everywhere, even the homeless seem to be taking over. One can’t even take a bus ride from “point A” to “point B” without having to keep their head on a swivel. Dangerous folks come out, especially at night.
I lay on my back, with my hands behind my head — thinking about the shit town in which I’m stuck. Suddenly, my alarm goes off. I sigh heavily, then get out of bed slowly. I pick up my phone from the floor beside me and turn the alarm off. I unplug my phone. Then I rub the sleepiness out of my eyes. I haven’t gotten a lot of sleep the past few days due to my heartburn flaring up really bad, and the knots in my neck and back don’t do anything to aleviate that. “Another day in paradise,” I say to an empty room. There’s nothing in here aside from a single matress on the floor, and a pile of clothes in the corner. I lost my will to own things years ago. I pretty much just have the bare essentials here. I only got a TV and a single chair in the living room: just enough of something to keep me from going mad.
No one comes to visit me. I get no calls. Used to get both calls and visits from my mama when I first moved out here in my early twenties. That was before she died. Had a few friends who did the same — none of which I see anymore. I never had a father to call my own — ‘cept the Heavenly Father. I even stopped talking to him. I can’t quite understand why. I’m mad, maybe. Mad that my life turned out this way seemingly without reason.
See, I even used to be married. The woman never loved me, I knew it from the start. I lost my friends when I married her. But she was beautiful, and she kept me warm at night. Hell, in spite of her greed, she was actually a decent person. We got a divorce not one year into it, and needless to say, she took all that I’m worth in the settlement. This is what I’ve been reduced to: A nobody, living nowhere, going, it seems, nowhere.
I do have one, single companion, though: My dog Binx. He’s a little beagle. If I could, I’d trade him for any human friend. He’s been nothing more than a pain in my ass lately. He’s always pissing on the carpet, even after I take him out. He’s always barking at every little sound the neighbors make, too, no matter how many times I tell him to quit. Like I said: pain in my ass.
Speaking of taking the mongrel out, that’s the first thing I do, right after I throw on a sweatshirt, long socks, and a pair of Jordan sandals. As we’re going down the stairs, Binx tries to take them two at a time ahead of me, but because I don’t have a long leash, he strains a lot, at times choking on the fabric pulled tight around his throat that is his color. I shake my head at the stupidity of the animal. It takes Binx forever and a day to find a spot, and once ge does, all that comes out of him is a little tinkle. “Come on, Binx,” I moan. “Poop or something.” We’re out there for about fifteen more minutes before I give up and we head back in. As soon as I take him off his leash inside, he’s sniffing the floor. Really? I thought.
“This is not the morning to mess with me, Binx,” I warned my dog. “Don’t you dare poop or pee on my carpet!” I don’t know why I bother. It’s not like dogs can understand English.
I have thirty minutes to get ready for work, so I use that time as wisely as I can. Once I am ready, I come out of the bathroom, and the first thing that happens? I step right into a wet spot with my bare foot. Immediately, cold liquid squeezes from the carpet and makes its way between my toes. I stop where I am and just stare at my dog for a moment. He’s sitting across the room from me, in my chair, staring back at me. It’s like he’s saying, “Yeah, I peed there just now. So what are you going to do about it?”
Well, here’s what I do: I snap. I stomp over to my dog, pick him up, put his entire face right into his own urine before he can even react, and rub his nose hard in it, cussing him all the way. He tries to squirm away, but I have a good grip on him. “You know better than that!” I yell. “I just took you out to pee!” When I set him down, he runs into the bedroom, tail between his legs. I make my last explicit remarks as I venture back into the bathroom to wash my hands. For the morning I’m having, I figure I need some coffee. With a good cup of dark joe, I can still start the day right. I go into the kitchen and look into the cupboard where I always keep the Folgers. There is none inside when I open up the door. That’s when I remember I forgot to get some at the grocery store the last time I was there. I bang my hand on the wall, teeth gritting. This was already going to be the worst day, I could already tell.
I decide to go into work early. I jumping into my ’98 green Pontiac, I barely get it started. I have to wait for it to warm up before I drive away in it. Sitting in the small and awfully cold interior, I blow on my hands and think some more. I think about this morning, Binx pissing me off, what I did to him. See, I actually feel kind of bad I did that, okay? I just don’t know how else he’s going to learn. It’s not even like he’s a puppy — he’s just a stupid dog. Still, truth be known, it’s not really him that I’m pissed about.
I’ve been stressed at work. It’s a dead-end job at a call center, a place where I’ve tried to but can’t ever seem to catch a break. Nobody, except my direct supervisor, recognizes my work, the way I take care of the customers who call in — even the more cantankerous ones. Even my supervisor doesn’t really do much aside from patting me on the back — which, by the way, it irritates me to the core to have to let that prick touch me — or saying “Keep up the good work! We appreciate you!” What does that even mean? Who’s “we”? I’ve worked so long there that I don’t even know if it’s anybody anymore. I sit next to the sweetest yet most annoying elderly lady on the planet. She will not stop talking to me every single chance she gets. I can’t ever get any peace when there’s time between calls. I do get two fifteen minute breaks, along with one thirty minute lunch break, every day, which is standard. But that’s not enough time to decompress, especially when yiu have to take time away to be back at your cubicle and logged back into the phones on time. Nobody beleives in any five-minutes-before or five-minutes-after rule there, even though it would help greatly.
That’s what I deal with every week Monday to Friday — minus sick/vacation days and holidays. During the weekends, my depression usually weighs me down until I lose sight of the point to anything, and I just lay around and drink to numb my senses. I don’t go out. What’s the point when you have no one you’re going to be out with? I’ve tried dating apps. They’re not for me. No one I work with is available, or if they ever are, they’re not my type of people. Hell, it’s a blessing to get away from them at the end of the day… Come to think of it, I’m not sure what “my type” even is. Sad, isn’t it?
Oh, well. Life goes on… For some reason.