The two friends sat in an empty cafe just outside a side road leading out of town. “I’ll tell ya, Jane, now that I’m off the phones, it’s really something different! The work’s harder, sure, and more competitive, but the freedom you’ve mentioned is nice.” Jane stayed quiet, chewing her cod sandwich, as Sammohini kept chatting. “But I miss the ease of helpdesk work. If you don’t know it, add your notes and escalate it!”
Jane’s sandwich fell apart. She picked at it with a plastic fork.
Jane’s childhood friend had been going on the same tangent for about five minutes now, but she was so excited about getting her promotion and she knew her well enough to know not to interrupt too much when she was in this elated talkative mood she got into sometimes.
Sammohini had already finished her chicken salad.
“Yeah, so I dunno where I wanna be in five years, whether that’s systems administration like some of the other guys, or maybe I’ll get- uhh- to the clinical applications team. They get flown out to New Alexandria for training! I guess the only downside to that is I’m not really as smart as you, Jane, so I couldn’t pick it up as quick. Uhh- I dunno if I could be a manager, though, you know, there’s a certain degree of personability required to make all that happen well, otherwise, uhh… we don’t need to bring her up and all that, so I’ll just say I’m really happy where I’m at with my work. Too bad about all that there.”
“It’s OK, thanks for giving me space there.”
The breakfast cafe was still empty. There were about six tables in the restaurant that served as an eatery extension to a quiet gas station. The salmon paint, faded due to sun damage, complemented the yellow wainscoting with years of chair dents. They sat in the back corner, Jane facing the parking lot.
“Sure thing! So I’m really enjoying my team. There’s Hank, who’s kinda like my trainer and is really cool. You’d probably like him right away. Venkat reminds me of Uncle Gopal, you remember him, right, from the last time we visited my folks? He’s a really nice, mentoring person. My boss, Linda- oh…! sorry, well- she’s nice too, along with… what’s his name, Neil? No, Nils! He’s kinda a jerk at times, but that’s just how he is, I guess, so I don’t really mind too much. I just gotta not take it personally, right?”
Jane accidentally slurped loudly on her soft drink and nodded.
“So yeah, that’s the team! We trade off on pager duties. I don’t have it this week but when I do, I feel more important! I guess it’s an ego thing, but I guess I feel more connected to the place, you know?”
Sammohini drank a little of her iced water.
Jane smiled. She wasn’t feeling anxious and finances were OK.
“I’m really happy to hear you’re doing well, there, Sammohini.”
|Sources: My professional experiences.|
|Inspirations: On our last day of a recent vacation, we stopped into a diner where, after having lunch, the story just sort of popped into mind.|
|Related: Somewhere in the Sammohini Arc of “The Story.”|
|Picture: Generic picture to save time.|
|Written On: October 4th [1 hour]|
|Last Edited: October 30th [15 minutes] – Just cleaned up some phrasing and pacing.|