One of my reluctant routines is to go to Starbucks to write. While I am not a fan of the coffee shop, my excuse, it’s the only one open at 7 am in the morning. I have a schedule two days a week in which I get up early to write before getting on the morning train to commute to work.
The other day while waiting for my soy latte to arrive I looked around and noticed how many people were at the shop so early in the morning. I know not everyone is writing like me. As a part of my warmup writing I sometimes simply pose a question and let the writing take over. In this case the question, “I wonder what everyone at Starbucks is doing at 7 in the morning?” I never know beforehand what will come out after posing the question. I took a sip of my latte and the words began to flow.
BE FOREWARNED, it turns dark.
There were a few of us with computers who seemed to be doing something. Writers, working remotely, “freeters” passing the time away, or officer workers in suits telecommuting. It is the office workers that grabbed my attention.
How many of the around twelve suit wearing company men have lost their jobs? I bet there is at least one in the bunch that is simply putting up a front by getting out of the house. For many months he has been lying to his wife making it look like he is going to work, when in reality he is at Starbucks whiling away his time before returning home after “work.”
Why would he go to to the local Starbucks where the chances of getting found out is much higher? Does he want to get caught no longer able to keep up the lie due to the dwindling bank account?
The better play? Go at least three or more stations away to minimize that risk. That way it’s easier to maintain the lie. It would be more natural as he gets on the train every morning at least feeling like he is commuting to work, even if it is Starbucks.
His charade continues for more than six months. Severance has run out. He has blown through all his savings and now into his family’s life savings all to maintain a front and avoid the shame of having lost his job. With two kids and a wife to support how much longer can this continue? The question is, “What to do when the savings is down to nothing with no job prospects in site?” At what point does it occur to him that in being middle age in Japan it is nearly impossible to get a job in the IT world? Who wants to hire him? Nobody that’s who.
Next, what to do about it? There are options, he could look for a part-time job. Problem with that, not nearly enough money to cover household expenses. How about fessing up to the lie? Well there is his wife who already despises him due to the lack of engagement in the home with the kids. She would use it against him to file for divorce. Justified, he thinks it doesn’t matter, the sex life is long gone. Does that suppress his libido? No way! Thanks to daily Starbucks coffee laden with chuhai, he gets up enough courage to get a quick glance at porn on the laptop when nobody is looking, followed by a two-minute wank in the Starbucks bathroom, practice makes perfect and satisfies that urge.
In the end, the money runs dry and the only way out of his miserable existence is to jump in front of the very commuter train he used to take before losing his job.