I started re-reading Don DeLillo’s White Noise in October, inspired by connections to how our media was handling the Ebola crisis. Ha, ha: look at me! Blogging about Don DeLillo and Ebola! I have a third of the book to go still, and it’s December. Sometimes good writers are hard to read.
And now my work saga has become a form of online exhibitionism, a Möbius strip of fact and fiction. I sit in the office with the HR guy and he wants to hear my side of the story. This is dangerous, because I like telling stories, and I’ve thought about it at considerable length. I sat in a remote part of the building before, kneading my forehead and writing notes on just this topic.
I want to fictionalize the HR guy, to make his face unusually small in proportion to his long appendages. But it’s no good: the HR guy is my advocate, my friend, and good at his job.
I leave his office released, because that’s what the truth does for you when you accept it. I have a similar discussion with my boss and come to terms, and agree on the plan that’s imminent and my desire to meet expectations.
He says there are two sides of me: the side that wants to take it by the reigns and make it through, and the other side that gets mired in the muck of what’s going on inside my head.
There are many sides but like a Möbius strip, it’s all one surface that twists on itself. An ant could walk it indefinitely, an M.C. Escher print.
I start my side of the story, which begins in the spring. From a dramatic perspective, this was the Inciting Incident, when things start to turn. The process decomposition. I go into detail and the HR guy is taking notes, nodding. He sometimes stops me to go back. I take out documents for reference. I really find it interesting and on some level, I think he needs to also.
We pass each other in the hall, co-workers, and they ask How are you? They always ask and sometimes I lie, but they can tell and it’s a kind of game, a way of saying something when you don’t know what else to say.
Thirty years ago around this time I was turning 14 and started recording my thoughts on a mini tape recorder, in the bath tub. There was a lot going on then, a lot to capture. I played the tape back once and heard my dad’s voice come on at the end, recording on top of my voice and saying POMPOUS POMPOUS POMPOUS and my mom laughing, saying stop. And I knew they were right then and I couldn’t listen anymore; it was a passageway between self-awareness and self-consciousness.
The times I’m best at work I can believe in myself despite all the reasons I shouldn’t. We are many sides to us, contradictions, multitudes, mired in the muck of ourselves, why it matters and matters not.