I work in an office. It’s miserable, always. Every single moment of it is miserable. Today, when I left the office, just as the door was shutting be hind me I let out a gutteral sort of exhale, a big ugly sound, kind of half angry and half relieved. Then I said “Jesus Christ”, too loudly into an empty hallway, I really hit the JEE and drug it out for a step or two.
At the end of last year there was a pretty heavy series of layoffs. I didn’t get laid off, and I’m ashamed at how much I wanted to get laid of, how much I want to get laid off, because I know I won’t look for other work. I know I wont. I don’t want to work. I want to sit home and write and get checks from the government. I am not a part of the solution to our economic woes. I’m heavily invested in sunny days. The layoffs took about half the office. We’d just moved into a smaller office a few months earlier, I moved with the company and it makes me nauseous to think about that, and it was still too big for us and it was getting bigger every day. They recently rearranged the furniture to make the office look more crowded and useful, giant patches of space every so often with useless little conversation circles and coffee tables in the middle.The top brass was coming in from Chicago and they could have parked their cars in the office and still had plenty of room for figuring out who to lay off next.
In late October another round hit, and a guy got laid off and it hit him pretty hard. He went around the office shaking everyone’s hand and making small chitchat with people before he left. I’d never talked to him before because I don’t talk to anyone there. I like to sit in my corner and do my little insignificant tasks and watch baseball when I’m supposed to be doing other things. I love baseball like someone who hates to talk to other people would. Raul. I think his name was Raul.
Raul came by my desk and had red eyes but was fighting them off, he had his shoulders back and was grinning like none of this made any difference, and he’s right, it doesn’t. But he was working on convincing himself of that, and I was certain of it and I wanted him to go away so I could get back to the baseball game.
He’s a really nice guy. Even when I just passed him in the hallway or over at the coffee machine, he was just one of those people you could tell was a nice guy. He radiated it. He really liked his job and he liked that you knew that he liked his job. It’s not a suit and tie office, but he always wore a suit and tie. Almost every day.
Today he was wearing a bee costume. It was the day before Halloween or close enough to wear a bee costume, so he wore a bee costume. And he talked to me for the first time and he talked about keeping your chin up and how it was time to move on to the next place anyway, and his eyes were red from crying just a short while before, and he walked into and out of my bosses office wearing a bee costume. He sat down in a chair wearing a bee costume, and was relieved of duty in a bee costume. He wore a suit and tie every day and they decided to fire him on the day he wore the bee costume. I imagine he got into his car and drove home in the bee costume, told his wife he lost his job in the bee costume, sat his kids down and told them they couldn’t go to summer camp in a bee costume.maybe went to the bar in the bee costume and kicked a few back in the bee costume. He woke up two days later in a ditch in a bee costume. Hungover and red eyed bee costume bee costume busy busy little bee costume.
I feel like I’m obligated to write a book about office life because I see things like this but why on earth would anyone want to do that.