Kevin Hillstill’s life could not get any more boring.
He went to work Monday to Friday, where he would do absolutely nothing (sitting in the inventory room by himself at a neighborhood Wallgreen from 9 am to 6 pm); he then left work, picked up pizza at Lorenzo’s and went home. Every night before bed, he would compulsively craft a tweet to report a whole day’s (non-)doing and fill up the timeline feed. Routine was slightly different on the weekend — he would meet up with childhood buddy Ted for a pale lager at Maggie’s Pub, go to Sunday mass but never had anything to pray for, and then spend the rest of the day strolling City Square watching girls and pigeons that could both scare him.
When he was in grammar school, he was taught that boring was an adjective to describe something that bored others.
But, what about something so boring that something bores even something itself?
Is that thing still boring or is that bored?
Guess the even better question for Kevin Hillstill would be —
Is Kevin Hillstill’s life boring because Kevin Hillstill is boring or is Kevin Hillstill bored because Kevin Hillstill’s boring life bores himself?
Well, Kevin’s no Bertrand Russell; he wouldn’t dwell on that. (If he would, then paradoxically he wouldn’t have the problem to begin with.)
Although he rarely thought about it, when he did he blamed it on his categorical averageness, that he had an average face, average build, average skin complexion, average upbringing and, the most peculiar among all that do not stand out, averaged-out personality. Ted always joked that if he were any “uglier,” he could at least look edgy. In 2022, that might sell. He’s not. He wished his grammar school teacher had taught him a word to describe a person that looked so generic that he looked like himself as much as the next person without knowing who that was. Then, at least, he could have an interesting Twitter bio section to show that he’s, if anything, above-average self-aware. In all fairness, having average looks weren’t that bad, at all. He was never interested in being a movie actor or anything like that; frankly, just the thought of having to endure the attention alone was stressful enough for him to choke on Lorenzo’s Pepperoni Special. What’s truly remarkable, though, was the personality or, the lack of it. To give an example, if one could pool quantified data of all possible personalities of all living human beings, Kevin would likely find himself right at the midpoint, almost as a statistical miracle, representing both the mean and the median. Of course, Kevin was not the technical type, although he did look over the inventory excel sheets for that neighborhood Wallgreen. The only thing he indeed was aware himself was that he was never overly happy ever or overly sad — other than that time he found out his favorite rapper, Mac Miller, had just OD’ed and cried his eyes out. Some intellectuals would say that he’s somewhat stoic, but Kevin never really liked this part of himself. And that sentiment grew increasingly strong these days. Aging could do that to people.
What’s left in life without crying and laughing?
How could someone be so sure that he’s living if there’s no feeling and manifesting?
His mom always said he’s worried about a whole lot of nothing. Being average is a blessing, silly child.
Death or Devil, neither could find you and give you hell.
It’s like having the special ability of being undefeated, well, by being “never-there.”
That obviously wouldn’t make Kevin feel any better, but what could he do?
Other than posting pictures of his own big head on Twitter, over and over, and venting on Reddit to harvest a dozen of camaraderie upvotes?
So on another ordinary Tuesday that was supposed to be averagely average, Kevin woke up to hip-hop radio station and got ready for work, as always. He was hungry, but there were no eggs left and the milk didn’t smell all right.
Well, today is one of those days to splurge a little.
He thought to himself.
Splurge might not be a proper word, but Kevin definitely liked Silver Moon Diner. He grew up in the area and Silver Moon was already a neighborhood gem when he was born. They were always open. As a matter of fact, he couldn’t remember a time it was ever closed, other than the three weeks during the peak of the pandemic. Silver Moon was famous for their breakfast: fresh eggs, fluffy pancakes, crispy bacons and the world’s only aromatic coffee that was poured by Lady Salinger.
Good morning, sweet face. Can I get you something?
Nobody knew the real name of Lady Salinger. It’s essentially a myth. Every time someone asked her about it, she would simply point to the name tag she’d been wearing for twenty years and remind people not to skip the title, Lady.
I, uh, would like the Silver Moon Classic. And, lots of coffee.
Lovely choice, handsome.
Kevin loved hearing that word handsome, although Lady Salinger probably called anyone she identified as an adult male that or one of its synonyms.
Handsome is still handsome.
As Kevin sipped on the first coffee of the day, it started to hit him:
After twenty years of intertwined life stories, Lady Salinger still couldn’t recognize Kevin Hillstill.
It’s not like she’s anybody else. Kevin had his 6th, 12th and 23rd birthday at Silver Moon, and Lady Salinger was there every time, always asking him if the milkshake was creamy enough and making sure that the chef put extra bacon bits in his mac & cheese.
The breakfast was probably fine, but Kevin did lose some appetite, likely over that. When he saw the yolk gushing out as he poked his over-easy open, he even had this sudden bizarre feeling of disbelief like he couldn’t comprehend what was happening.
It’s a sense of disassociation that the over-easy on his plate was not part of this world because that would be so strange.
He went back to normal though as he stepped inside the store.
Good morning, Ben.
Can’t believe you’re late today.
Kevin took a glance at the cheap smartwatch he bought on Amazon.
Ten minutes late.
Well, it’s the first time in a long while, so probably the management would just let it pass.
His head hurt just thinking about the possible scene where he had to explain why he was late — a sudden existential angst that started with a coffee and ended in a fried egg.
He got to the inventory room in the basement and turned on the computer. Reception was basically non-existent down there, so he installed a handful of free standalone games on the phone to kill time during work. These days, though, it’s hard to find a free game that didn’t require an Internet connection. Developers wiring platform-based ads into their games had become a norm.
Well, everyone needs to eat.
The work computer was outdated five years ago, but nobody was that picky if all it needed to do was to open some excel sheets once in a while and load Kevin’s work emails every morning.
An intellectual debate: why unionization could hurt employees.
Happy Hours, anyone? Join us this Saturday and meet your regional director, Samantha Banes.
Ascend Seminar registration: your next promotion is around the corner!
Enter attached sheets in the system ASAP.
He opened the email attachment.
Ah crap, here goes the day.