original art



the daily grind

A Conceptual Pop Painting (and Poetry Below) by Mark Mitchell

Crack of dawn. The grind begins, the race is on.
A speeding tornado of toothpaste, toast and coffee.
A mad dash for elusive trains, joining huddled masses
crowding platforms, sidewalks and elevators.
A dizzying marathon to a sterile world
of blue-grey walls and tiny, cramped cubicles.
Another dull day begins. Bring on the abuse.

the daily grind

A Work of Fiction by Author, Lisa Spencer (Inspired by the Painting Above)

My profession? I am Head Family Protection Consultant. That sounds like I should either be some sort of figure of heroism or a Mafia consigliere. I am neither. I am an insurance telemarketer. The SENIOR telemarketer at this call center, my mother would have you know. I have business cards. People report to me. I am a responsible and sensible adult-ish sort of person.

As respectable as my life now is on paper, it is also deeply unsatisfying. I mean, no kid aspires to sell insurance over the phone... I sure as hell didn’t.

So how does a seller of insurance lend an air of color to their gray days?

Well... sometimes I don’t file my daily reports until the absolute last possible moment. I will put off problematic e-mails and phone calls until the situation has reached the point of crisis—if I’m in need of the release that only a dramatic confrontation can provide. Occasionally I will even find a way to ditch a meeting or an ENTIRE DAY OF WORK by fabricating a family illness...a death as a form of passive aggressive rebellion.

But you know what puts a real adrenaline rush into my daily routine? My commute.

If you suffer from a serious case of Job-Related Brain Death like I do, here is your simple guide to remedying that via the sport of Extreme Commuting.

Step One - Never EVER wake up early enough that you are assured of arriving at the office at your appointed start time. That alarm should either go off with the briefest time-frame that you can feasibly get ready or you should hit the snooze button so many times that by the time you haul your ass out of bed you are in an absolute panic. Option two works best if you are really in

need of excitement.

Step Two - Do not eat at home. If you allow another person or persons to control the timeliness with which you receive your mediocre coffee and breakfast food product you are adding an additional level of difficulty. Things could go wrong (a new cashier, someone placing a special order ahead of you in line) that may shave precious seconds or even minutes off your time. Bonus points for eating something TRULY wretched. The guilt makes the rest of the day even more filled with self-loathing, and besides—do you really WANT to live longer?

Step Three - Take the train whenever possible. This may sound like unsound advice but I assure you it is not. Theoretically, if you take the same line every day you should be able to approximate your departure and arrival time with a fair amount of accuracy. If you believe this, then you have never stood on a platform listening to the loudspeaker announce that “the brown line is now 5 minutes from the station”, followed by an announcement 3 minutes later that “the brown line is now 7 minutes from the station.” Yes, the transit authority has discovered a way to

go back in time...and they are using that super power to personally torture YOU. If you manage to miss your train completely your actions might just help add a reprimand to your personnel file.

Step Four - Walk AS FAST AS YOU CAN from the train to the office. Not only can this be counted as your cardio for the day, but by almost knocking people over and muttering obscenities you can get the kind of aggression out of your system that is simply unacceptable in the modern workplace. If you are quite lucky you will have a slew of co-workers in front of you trying to barge in at the exact same time. This will also add to the suspense as to whether or not you will be able to catch an elevator immediately or have to wait, plus it provides another opportunity for pedestrian road rage in the hallways. Now you vault through the doors to your

department and frantically log on to your system, not yet knowing your fate. Will your computer and its seemingly inconsistent clock register you as being on time or late? You either won an epic battle against time itself or you will have to avoid eye contact with your superiors until they either a) mention your tardiness or
b) you realize they are obviously unaware of it.

The excitement of your commute gradually fades into the routine of daily cubicle living. The whoosh of the sound of the blood making its way to your brain is replaced by the faint hum of fluorescent lighting and office machinery. Your world is again predictable and mundane. You are no longer part of a monumental saga but a middle management clown. A punching bag for the higher ups to scold and the “worker bees” to ridicule. Until tomorrow, that is...

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Selected Best In Show at
Fantastic Ekphrastic
Annual Multidisciplinary
Benefit Exhibit 

96” X 36” Diptych
(Two 48" X 36" Canvases)

Acrylic on Canvas
©2017 Mark Mitchell


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