I got too close to my car, which is never good (emotionally attached), probably starting to identify with it falling apart, the inexplicable warning lights flickering going up steep hills, knowing it was only a matter of time. And I felt mechanical getting behind the wheel of it, glazing over going into work, getting in the slot on the freeway, pulling in the garage, badging in, finding a spot to charge my machine.
I heard they let people go at the office yesterday and imagined I could sense that energy in the air, when no one’s supposed to know what’s happening but everybody does, and no work is getting done (because how could it), and I remembered the first day at Starbucks they did that: they told everyone when it was going to happen, an otherwise uneventful Thursday in early February, but we all knew about it since like the beginning of January, a tactic designed to lessen the impact somehow but it only aggravated everyone’s anxiety, we all turned on a slow spit dreading the day as it neared, hearing that if you were on the list to get RIF-ed (“reduction in force”) you’d receive an Outlook invitation the night before with a strange subject line, a 15-minute time slot, and then gather your personal things and be on your way.
Even though my job was OK I still left the building after our new team huddle. Sometimes I’d do that, just go down to 1st avenue and catch either the north or southbound bus, and then I’d get off and walk, hoping something would happen I could write about, but nothing ever did. It’s probably how I was seeing things then that affected that (or what I was missing, and not seeing).
But I felt good pulling out of the parking garage yesterday when my day was done; I put on a new CD and when I got home, changed and walked the dog, wrote, got a note from my dad and called him, made dinner, talked to Dawn afterwards about the 9-5 life and agreed, we’re never going back.
And later, I thought about one of the colleagues I had who got RIF-ed, and we all remarked how strange, because she’d been there so long and was seen as a kind of fixture: I remembered how long it took her to finish emptying out her desk, it seemed like it was all afternoon, and people were coming by hugging her, not knowing what to say…and she wasn’t married, she didn’t have a family but was young enough still she could, so it was probably a lot of her life she was leaving that day, and I thought how sad, she identified with it so much (I did the same), but when you come back the next time maybe it’s like getting dumped, you’re smarter and wiser, more removed, your heart gets thicker, it remembers.