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Friday Afternoon After Five
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It's Friday afternoon after 5 p.m. and I'm finishing up the payroll and getting ready to go home. Outside my window the employees who haven't jumped into their cars and fled the parking lot already have gathered in groups to crank up their cars' speakers, rev up the motorcycles, laugh and talk and let their hair down. It's as if a switch had been turned and they become their other selves, regular people.

I would have been long gone myself, except that there's work to be finished and it's my turn to hold down the fort and wait for the final data so it can be certified. Then I, too, can fold up my tent and steal away. Not for me the revving of unmufflered engines and the booming of rap rhythms; more the quiet exit, in solitude, the soothing sounds of Aimee Mann, "Lost in Space."

I'm looking forward to the 3-day weekend, not so much for rest and recreation (there are always housework and the usual errands), but for a change of pace and the opportunity to work at my own rhythms, not to the demands of the clock.

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