There’s Always Something
I awoke early, drove 80 miles, did a day’s work, then drove 115 miles back. There were moments of joy, frustration, outright anger, humour, boredom, satisfaction and desire.
I have just lived another day.
I lived another day, 13 hours of it away from the house. And yet I come home and suckle the bitter-sweet, familiar digital teat of the internet, desperate for its faux-nourishment, desperate for it to give me some clue.
My little black book was two pages richer by the time I left the office. And yet still I fumble around the grossly offensive and bile-laden abyss of the World Wide Web. I want confirmation that I can write. I find half the planet is already doing it. Then I feel disheartened. This is where, dejected and hopeless, I am supposed to navigate to YouTube to then watch three hours of people less intelligent (and dexterous, for that matter) than my girlfriend’s dog fail at all manner of inane activities. I resist. This time.
I want inspiration to write and seek it out via the google, and I find that the people writing the prompts have apparently no greater grasp of grammar or style than I do. Considerably worse, actually – ‘contents contained within’. Excuse me? I do not believe they would be contents, if they were not in fact contained.
I have just lived another day. Am I so dependent on the internet to give me the answers and prompts that I can’t honestly think of a single thing in my day to write about?
How about this: At work, I was told I need to make a visit to a site in central London, the purpose being to meet the Client Services Manager (CSM) and get an understanding of how they do things. Phrases such as ‘best practice’ and ‘leverage strengths’ were tossed about, which served only to reinforce my reluctance. I was instructed to make contact with the CSM and arrange a day and a time. The site in question is fairly high-profile and somewhere I would expect to see rather stringent security measures. Imagine my surprise when, after having suggested a time that coincides with an already planned visit, all I got back was:
‘Next Wednesday will be fine I’m free in the afternoon’
Taken aback by the brevity and lack of information about where exactly to go and how to present myself, coupled with my anxiety about being challenged upon arrival, bundled through an x-ray machine and taken to a small side room for a cavity search, I reached out for more information:
‘Cheers, I’ll drop by then. Is there anything I should know before I just show up? Should I expect sniffer dogs or anything? Not that I intend to be smuggling that day, of course, but at least I would know, for example, to avoid carrying raw meat in with me. Thanks’
The reply was slightly more informative that the first, yet just as soulless. This is the environment I work in. It is a requirement of the job at CSM level that one renounces humour, humanity, integrity and uses the word resource instead of person. I managed to give up humour for a few years, but could not bring myself to get on board with the last three. It has taken about two years to rediscover what humour means.
I have worked for my employer for almost nine years now. Not sure how I lasted this long, to be honest. As it happens, I have left no less than four times yet somehow find I am still employed there. It’s a similar experience trying to opt out of marketing text messages from O2. I am convinced that the only way out is gross misconduct, or persistent minor misconduct. Or perhaps even, just persistent displays of individuality and intelligence; that would be more fun, as they would attempt to initiate disciplinary proceedings but find that there are no solid grounds for which to do so. Each meeting would culminate in one of two ways:
1. The clarification of the term ‘professional’ and what it meant in this specific industry and in this specific scenario; or
2. The realisation that ‘challenging the status quo’ includes refusing to ignore other people’s ineptitude (including directors and ‘c-suite’ staff) and is not sufficient grounds for dismissal.
They are practically begging for me to go rogue.
I think I will take a packet of smoked, streaky bacon to work with me next week and ensure that it ‘accidentally’ falls onto the desk in front to the CSM when I remove my note-book from my briefcase.