24 Hours At HZ

We have a pretty cool space here in Rockville. Part office, part creative incubator, part collection of orange tchotchkes. But can all of this awesome sustain a human man for a full 24 hours? It was an experiment worthy of HZ—so without asking anyone for permission, I gave it a try. I would do it in the name of the blog!


I arrive at work and scoop a slice of German chocolate pound cake from the kitchen. I’ll choose to believe that it has been fortified with all requisite vitamins and nutritional goodies for a well-rounded breakfast.


Brew a coffee. Check emails. Get settled in. Then I spend a few hours writing copy so breathtaking, so clever, so bold and awe-inspiring that it makes clients weep orange tears of joy. #HZ


My laser-focused concentration is shattered. The most important thing that could ever happen to anybody, anywhere happens. An email from Sara lets the office know—Freddy’s Food Truck has arrived. My body tingles—it knows I am minutes from shoveling mountains of meat fries into my face. I walk at a pace just barely slower than a jog. Play it cool, Craig. Try, for once, to play it cool.


5 minutes of culinary ecstasy swiftly gives way to a lingering depression. I stare at an empty tray, the ghost of meat fries past taunting me. Haunting me.


Exhaling hurts somewhere under my ribs. The food coma has hit me like only a pound of smoked brisket to the stomach could. I stare blankly into space, fighting to keep my eyes open.


Enough is enough. Red Bull.


I’m back, baby, and I’m better than ever. I’m churning out blogs, tweets and other miscellaneous copy with fevered purpose. I try not to be impressed by my own writing—but damn, is it hard to stay impartial.



I book Fish Tank for an unspecified “client call” during this time as the rest of HZ files out. I wear a mask of concentration typically reserved for serious meetings, though in truth I’m merely giving cat care instructions to my neighbor so Teddy Purrsevelt doesn’t go hungry.


I’m alone. I do something that we’ve all dreamt of doing. I cue “Bicycle” by Queen, jump on the orange bike, and do several laps around the office, weaving between desk clusters and pods while belting my best Freddy Mercury. It is, predictably, satisfying.



Cool off from bike ride with a quick sit in Hell’s Kitchen, which has, against all odds, somehow gotten even colder since the workday ended.


I begin drawing on the chalkboard wall of the (human refrigerator) Hell’s Kitchen. This goes on for a lot longer than expected, but what I am left with is a work of art.


Boredom has set in. What if I die here? To be safe, I begin drafting a note for my family. The usual “I love you, give my cats to Taylor Swift, etc.” Am I losing my mind? No. No, I am finding my purpose.


With a surprising burst of energy, I remember the enormous container of orange LEGOs upstairs above the SEO team. I start modestly—a car, a house, a giraffe. Then I decide it’s time to embark on my masterpiece: life-sized replicas of Karen and Jerry.


That promotion is mine now! I think. But will I jump directly to CEO? That DOES seem fair.


Just—a classic bad idea. I take apart LEGO Karen and Jerry. I should sleep.


I investigate Dormify’s old space, hoping a model bed and maybe a fun pair of PJs have been left behind.


No beds have been left behind. Ditto on the jammies.


I sleep in the weird orange hand chair, as it is the softest surface I can find.


I wake after a surprisingly peaceful sleep. I suppose the hand’s Zen translated into some solid snoozing.


Time for a shower. Yeah, you didn’t know there was a shower in that random closet between the bathrooms did you? Well, there is. I dip in for a quick rinse and dry off using a spare XXXL HZDG shirt as a towel.


I make a breakfast out of fridge scraps. There’s some Chop’t salad leftovers, a few bites of pizza from that snow day several weeks ago, some quinoa in a suspicious Tupperware container, half a beer’s worth of Dogfish Head left in the keg. Look, I’m not proud. But I’m hungry.


I turn on the news so I can pretend like I’m up-to-date on world events. Is THIS what it’s like to get news from somewhere other than Twitter? I feel like a caveman.


People are arriving. I feel like a feral animal being brought into the house for rescue. 

“You’re here early, Craig!”

“AM I?” I respond, bags under my eyes, looking like a maniac.


“I see why you would think that…” I say, maintaining eye contact while backing away slowly.


I’ve done it. I survived 24 hours in HZ. I questioned myself—but I never questioned my purpose.

24 Hours in HZ: Can it be done? Yes. Do I recommend it? Also yes. Totally. But also no, absolutely not—I feel horrible and have lost my grip on reality. I hope you enjoyed following my journey, though now it is time for me to return to my home planet.

Adieu, earth things.