When the girl at the Whole Foods asked how my day was going I paused and had to laugh, how much I wanted her to know, she should read my blog. Leaving the office at 2 PM and stopping for a six-pack, a carton of cream: the trees along the road with the last of their leaves have the same frail, papery look of an old animated film about to fall the next frame: and the mountains with their first coat of snow, just a thin band of light beneath the deck pink-orange, the rest of the clouds fanned out and furrowed, folding in on themselves; it leaves me prone to afternoon naps, dark beers, solemn prose, day dreams.
Loren, on the day he left standing in line with me at the Starbucks looking nervous, startled, trying to make what he could of it, all the sales cues, the stimuli—like he’s betrayed someone, himself.
Me, leaving the lobby at Microsoft today, how odd it all felt at first but now, almost normal: parking in the same spot, the queer routines we cling to then rebel against: the fact those who were hardest for me to work with I probably learned the most from. And how things repeat themselves, why experience matters. How Finance people seem to have the same traits, the value of knowing their favorite terms.
Microsoft employs half its workforce as contractors, and while they’re expected to work mainly from home, they’re also expected to come in, and ironically it seems everyone wants their contractors in the office and everyone else’s not, so they implement restrictions that cut off badge access after a certain number of days, and cut off access to the network after 18 months. So from the get-go, it all feels temporary, impermanent, and I like that: it leaves no illusion of attachment for me, it frees me to do my best work, to just go day by day.
I’ve made a habit of eating there in the cafeteria and sometimes try to find someone to join me but most often prefer sitting by myself looking out the window at the parking lot, trying to resist looking at my phone, where there’s rarely anything new.
I got home and had the house to myself, and it was cold and gray; I changed my clothes and lay on the couch with a Smiths album, took off my glasses and caught myself with my hand on my forehead and what must have been a pained, blank look, noting the last of the uneaten berries on a tree, thinking how all this is just perfect right now.