Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Journey into Solitude : Chapter One :: In Through The Out Door 1

The day Christian walked out of the world, it rained for about half an hour and then was quiet. He sat in his cubicle and out of the corner of his eye he could see droplets of water slowly trickling down the windowpane. It was about eleven in the morning. The walls of his cubicle were grey. The carpet was grey. His chair, which squeaked, was a dingy, unwashed grey. The flat screen of his computer flickered momentarily, then continued in its mission of displaying a tangled mess of spreadsheets and browsers, a cumulative projection of grey into the world. My name is Christian. I work for Global Corporation, he thought. I am a Level Three Data Entry Administrator, Second Grade. Then he didn't think again for perhaps five minutes.
The ambient noise of the cubicle farm was central air and the random clickclickclick of keys being pressed. The occasional ring of a telephone broke into the sussurus of data being entered. Fed in here, spat out there. Around and around, like effluvium, the data moved. Most of it was pointless. Or worthless. Some adjective ending in "less" anyway.
At eleven thirty the weekly Morale Meet-Up began. It was important that it was called a meet-up, and not a meeting. Christian went to thirty-seven meetings a week. None of them was called a meeting. Meetings were not done at Global Corporation.
The Morale Meet-Up met up in the conference room. Christian took a seat at a table that had been impressive once. Twenty years of coffee mugs and watches, of donut crumbs and spilled drinks, had put an end to that. At the table sat the other seventeen members of Christian's department, carefully shoehorned in together.
For thirty minutes, they listened while a corporate drone attempted to buck them up by telling them in the vaguest terms possible how important their work was to Global. Christian doodled on a pad of paper: geometric designs at first, then sketches of the people across from him, then finally organically complex squiggles.
Precisely thirty-six minutes nineteen seconds into the drone's spiel--part harangue and part condescension--Christian rebelled. There was no lead-up. He simply thought, as though someone had written on the surface of his brain in bold stark letters:
I Hate My Job.
This thought, while it had previously floated serenely beneath the waves of Christian's subconscious, had never been expressed explicitly. It was soon followed by the following realizations: I am forty-two years old. I have no wife. I have no girlfriend. I have no kids. I have no friends. I live in a shitty little apartment with an unhealthy plant. My apartment is dilapidated and infested with mildew. I have not been happy in a long time. Maybe ever.
I Hate My Life.
Thirty-seven minutes and twelve seconds into the drone's spiel, he was interrupted by a pen flying across the room and impacting the projection screen behind him. The pen had left Christian's hand with no particular force. He had simply thrown it, with the air of a scientist, to see what would happen when he did.
All eyes in the room traced back along the pen's trajectory and fell on Christian. He politely nodded to them and said, "I have more important things to do with my life than listen to this. I quit. Goodbye."
With that, he stood and left the room, his job, and his miserable life.

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