It doesn't bother me in the least that I've been forced to work on New Year's Eve. The call center I've worked at for 2 years sits at the end of a massive office park. At 5pm, most worker bees stream out of the buildings, all of structures are squat, single level bunkers. A few companies have taken the time to landscape a tiny section of their lot. Here and there a young tree pokes out of the soil, but are no more than 6 feet tall. Everything else is asphalt, glass, parked cars and those little offices, all alike.
As usual, my shift is from 11pm to 7am. For all I know, I'm the only person within a quarter mile, and I'm fond of that. That's a good thing, as people find me to be an odd specimen.
At 11pm, stroll into work, past the conference room and coffee pots. I'm looking for the worker on the 3pm to 11pm shift. She is alone now, and it is time for her to go home. She sees me, smiles, assembles her coffee mug and CD player with headphones, and passes me on the way out. "It's all yours! No calls tonight, not one...it's boring." she says cheerfully. My response is affable and banal, "Happy New Year, and make sure he wears a condom." She laughs, calls me an, "asshole," and is gone. Happy day. I like it boring.
A glance at the computer, and as she said, nothing pressing.
Twenty minutes later, I'm listening to Tchaikovsky's violin concerto very loudly, without headphones, and reading, "Pillars of the Earth" by Ken Follet. Not a single call, and I'm very happy that they are paying me for this, at time and a half. I'm drinking Jolt cola and eating pretzels.
It's now 11:50pm, and I call my family to wish them all a Happy New Year. After the call, I produce a bottle of Champagne from my book bag, twist off the wire cap, and fire the cork towards the drop ceiling, which was unwise. The cork sailed right on through, making a cork sized hole. Oh, well.
No calls came in, and I drank the whole bottle. Champagne goes down really smooth, and it makes me feel...good. That's what it did that night, except for my passing out between two cubicles.
As I slept my haziness off, I dreamed. In my dream, Nina Simone, Abe Lincoln, Gary Busey, and Nicholas Cage were all trapped in a jail cell. The jail was filling up with water. Across the room, a chimpanzee was standing on a filing cabinet, trying to stay dry. Somehow Busey and Cage convinced the chimpanzee to find the source of the flood, which was apparently a clogged toilet. It turned out to be a success, and the last thing I remember in the dream was Nina Simone shouting, "Mississippi, Goddamn!"
At around 4am, I wake up...still no calls. But a headache make me feel like my brain is a pinata at a Mexican kids birthday party.