Some years ago, I wrote about what a “well-stocked cube” should look like, in a cube I no longer occupy, based on an idealized perception of Corporate America. Today, I occupy my most-recent cube, writing an addendum on that initial essay. My older writing style is different – wordier, and less substantial – but I’ve held onto the thought long enough that I should at least get it published so it’s no longer in my drafts folder.
“OK-lure, when in this console window and connected to this server, simply type in this, this, this switch and… are you paying attention?”
The nervous computer repair technician broke her rhythm of looking up at the screen, looking down to write the esoteric command in her notepad, to look over at the more seasoned computer repair technician, Nils.
“Forget it. I’ll do it. I’ll paste console notes into the ticket when I close it.”
The small apartment had only one functionless piece of decoration: a gaudy customer service award hanging from a nail that had long been painted into the infrastructure in a prominent spot in the living room. “Employee of the Month: Jane Lanyard, IT.” She couldn’t miss reading and re-reading it as she spoke on the phone with one of the few recruiters that might occasionally reach out. “We know transportation has been an issue for you…”
The freshly-graduated technology student went to bed early in anticipation of her first day working at Eville Medical, a dream job for her, yet the excitement kept her from falling asleep as easily as normal as she thought about who she might meet, befriend, and what new adventures might unfold. Vast pastel vistas unfolded into a picnicking hillside with puppies, imaginary animals, and her beloved– Her alarm clock went off. Time to go to work!
“Since we’re stuck in traffic, what else is on your mind?”
The two furniture movers sat in traffic that moved ever so slightly then stopped suddenly every few minutes, with the driver, Andrius, keeping an even pace with leg muscles refined through years of playing football. Jane, meanwhile, had been glancing through a technical book before they got on their impassioned previous employers topic.
“Why do you think bosses act like that? Rude, passive-aggressive bit-“
“What a passive-aggressive punk!”
“I hate when people act like that!”
The windows were rolled down in the muggy cabin of the Sneaker Transport moving truck, letting in an ambient traffic rhythm for the two furniture movers to listen to as they complained about past jobs. Andrius, a former minor-league athlete nicknamed “43” after his jersey number, drove while Jane, a former computer repair “Doctor” as they called her, reclined.
“Woah… that’s it!”
“Lemme tell ya…”
Why do we become addicted to our work? Why do we allow our work and employers to entrench themselves so deeply into our psyches that when we’re in the shower, we give effort to our work, we complain about work to family, and we work when we sleep? Does it fill that void otherwise filled with insecurities and self-loathing? Do we yearn for the stability that comes with employment and the fruits of our labor?
My bull-headed dash through 501 essays has taught me to eschew listless energy. I’m focused on what directly or indirectly helps my mission of becoming a professional writer. When times are bad, escape into nuances that might push along the mission. When times are good, go full-bore! The more practice, the less insecurity I’ve felt over trivialities, enabling “this” to become a natural part of my life. Writing is as subconscious for me as eating breakfast.
My big goal is writing “The Story.” The flash-bang idea started in high school and just will not go away. I could do as many might: try, fail, and shelve the idea as a quaint notion. I can’t do that! I am only stopped by my writing ability, which I know cannot yet do justice to “The Story.” Here are 5 points I refined in my process while writing “Covered in Artificialities” that might help you!
“Do you have 50 cents you could spare this afternoon?” “Yeah, sure… You hanging in there alright?” I gave him all my change, 8 cents, and one dollar more. “Thank you. Yeah, I am.” The man wearing a dirty hoodie in the dry heat walked off, looking disbelieved over money. Life in “The Story” isn’t easier than our own. John (left) had periods of teenage homelessness before being “adopted” into Trishna’s (right) life. Can we adopt everyone?