21 September 2010

Chance Operations

It’s strange times at my job these days. My boss was fired, but the rest of us are still here. (And she was fired for terrible non-reasons. She wasn’t a good boss, but she was good at many other important parts of her job, and really her job itself is an important one.) So sometimes that means I have to work harder and do more things, but mostly it means I arrive every day a little after nine and check into a space with very little gravity, where there can be no real consequences for slacking off because there is no real future to speak of. And I so sit and read the Internet, mainly.

My coworkers and I are here until maybe the end of October, maybe the end of the year. The people at the main office don’t bother to fill us in anymore. Maybe they think we already know more than they do. Maybe they’re just trying to keep their heads above water and can’t be bothered sending any signals.

This job has always been strange, though it shares many elements with other jobs that aren’t impossible to explain to people in a few words, setting off a race between boredom and confusion in the mind of anyone unfortunate enough to ask. There are normal office things however. Computers. Phones. People to please and displease. Even before my boss left, I had checked out, become Bartleby’s dishonest cousin -- not doing any work that wasn’t urgent until either it became urgent or somebody came by who might observe me. Then, in order to look as though I was working, I would do my work. Now there is hardly anybody around to inspire me to preserve appearances. I still get things done. Just enough. I’ll structure my day in nontraditional ways: each time my coworker stands up, or the phone rings, I’ll accomplish one small task, for instance. File the first half-inch of papers in my bin.

(It’s like how when I’m walking I’ll let chance determine my route. Red light? Car coming? Change direction. A person approaching? Cross to the other side of the street. I used to think this was just the result of a fatal weakness of will, a pathological reluctance to decide. Lately though I’ve been rereading Chinese philosophy and now I think I am just letting myself by guided by the Dao.)

But what a way to spend a third of my waking hours, to feel the days moving around me as fungible and weightless as soap bubbles. Why not write, now that I have the time? I don’t think the diary is an especially noble form. But it is a possible form for now, one that won’t be too disturbed by a telephone call or blat of the two-way radio. Maybe it will come to be of use.


  1. I am reading all your stories. Blogs is an ugly word, just the word not the idea. Like the random work idea, work as a non-alcoholic drinking game.

  2. Ha! That's a good way to put it. (And thanks for reading!)