Friday, May 26, 2006

“What do you do at work, Daddy?” 

Well, aside from the detail that my kids are getting too old to ask questions in quite such an innocent form…

I sit at a white six-seater tabletop – a sort of communal desk, cheaper and more space-efficient than a traditional desk, and eerily reminiscent of the Battle Control Room in Flash Gordon, only they haven’t welded the screens to our brains yet - and stare at a computer screen, cultivating an outward appearance of busy-ness whilst in reality inside I’m often frozen in paralysis – unable to engage with what I’m supposed to be doing, equally unable - for purely practical reasons - to do anything else; there isn’t anything else.

I listen in silent disbelief at what comes out of the mouths of some of my fellow Golgafrinchans, and wonder… We’re all just children playing a game of make-believe, only, like children, we really believe in the fantasy we’ve created and, also just like children, pretend that we’re really grown-ups.

I pretend the enormity of my decision to commit myself to staying here hasn’t yet swamped me; I’m not really drowning, I’ll soon learn how to swim here. I put from my mind all thoughts of another 3000 working days of this pretence, forcing down the nausea of rising panic at the prospect.

I wonder what happened to hope, and caring, and passion, and drive.

I drink far too much black coffee, simply for the excuse to escape the desk – sorry, table - and fill a few moments with some apparent purpose

I long to become visible; I long for some real human contact; I long for something to believe in, but these were never part of the job description.
That, my children, what I do at the office all day, and when the day is over and I’m finally home, if it’s a good one, I exhale and try and rid my body of a little of the tension before it all builds again the next day. Choose your role models carefully children; look far into their futures before you start to follow in their footsteps.

What’s brought on this bout of blackness? After all, once upon a time people told me I had enthusiasm, energy, optimism; my laughter was mostly light and sincere, without the cruel edge born of cynicism. But another of my colleagues leaves today. That’s four from my immediate area, all a similar age to me, who will never need to take paid employment again. Four people with whom I felt more empathy than anyone else around here.

Why don’t I follow them? What’s the difference between them and me, their circumstances and mine? They were good; they were loyal employees; they kept their noses clean and toed the party line when it mattered. I on the other hand, even though I had no dream, went off in search of one. Maybe I looked in the wrong place; maybe I was looking for the wrong thing; maybe I just gave up too soon. Whatever; I didn’t find a dream so I came back. But by then I’d already screwed my chances of a decent pension and a fat redundancy cheque.

I’ll get over it. Or I hope I will. Tomorrow’s another day.

All the same, this isn’t what I started a blog to write about. If I can’t think of anything else soon, I’ll know it’s time to call it a day.

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