Sand in the Gears

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June 5th, 2013 Posted in The Artful Life

Finally, fiction from me that doesn’t involve death or melancholy or predestination or anything else likely to induce heavy drinking. It’s all dialogue, and I wrote it years ago whilst sitting utterly uninspired and bored in a large corporate bureaucracy. And the good people at Work Literary Magazine saw fit to publish it. Here’s an excerpt:

“But you don’t feel fit for work.”

“Exactly. That is precisely the problem, don’t you see? I feel fit, but I have absolutely no interest in my job today. The very thought of it numbs my soul.”

“Look bud, nobody’s interested. I double-majored in literature and philosophy in college. You think I’m interested in hearing about people’s sinus infections and divorce court hearings and parent-teacher conferences? You think I spend my spare time going up to strangers on street corners, and asking them about all the crappy little details of their existence? I get the dregs of people’s lives, my friend, and let me tell you, it’s sure not out of interest on my part. You want to know why I do it?”

“Actually, I am kind of curious.”

“Because it’s my J-O-B, pal. That thing I do to support myself. Interest has nothing to do with it.”

“But don’t you think it should? My God, you of all people should be with me on this. Shouldn’t your work hold some interest for you? Can’t you see what I’m getting at?”

“Yes, it’s all very charming and existential. But get over it. Being uninterested is just not a reason for not working. If you want to take a personal vacation day that’s fine, and I’m with you one hundred percent, but I’m not going to enter ‘uninterested.’”

“What difference does it make to you anyway? Why are you being so deliberately difficult?”

“Look, if I don’t assign you to a recognized category, then I have to type up a report and put it in our ‘Reconcile’ folder. Then in our Friday staff meeting I’ll have to explain to everyone why it didn’t fit into one of the existing categories. Then everyone in the meeting will argue about whether you took vacation, or ran errands, or had a sick day, until all the doughnuts are gone. In the end it will go into one of those categories anyway, because in my four years on this job, we have yet to add a fourth category. The only difference between me deciding right now versus them deciding on Friday is that doing it your way makes me look like an idiot who can’t make a decision.”

 You can read the rest here.

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