Monday 19 September 2011

Back office blues

Picture this:
Girl sits at a desk. It's an okay desk, as it happens it's not the smallest desk she ever had. Actually, she used to have her own office - in a portakabin admittedly - but it was her own space in one of those weird local government twists of fate. Anyway, she's got a set of drawers with the obligatory missing key and a set of shelves a short walk away but there's barely anything on them because she doesn't work in the world of books any more, to be honest. She doesn't need a filing cabinet either. She doesn't need much except her desktop PC, obligingly old, obligingly capable of doing what she needs it to do. She misses her old 20 inch screen but understands she couldn't make a business case if she tried. Multiple data streams does not a business case make. She has a phone but it rarely rings, a stapler which is used more often by others. Her mechanical pencils litter the desktop as she prefers to write in pencil - less resistance and a long story. Full notebooks, half full notebooks, waiting to be full notebooks litter the desk and strew through the drawers in an unpredictable mess of some faintly remembered filing system which said this notebook for notes and that one for minutes. She sits, and she types, sometimes frantically and sometimes mechanically, but always faithfully and most of the time she feels that typing furiously has some value, has some weight, has some impact as she desperately tries to convey all she knows before the invisible timer which silently ticks down the hours, seconds and minutes reaches the inevitable climax and her time at this desk will end.

Some of the time she feels invisible. Splashed with the can of paint thrown regularly and wildly at back office functions, red clashing with the white calm she tries to hold on to. Some of the time she feels all too visible, responsible for the future encapsulated in the acknowledgement that the future comes but it comes at different paces in different parts of the country and that she might be of the right time but in the wrong place or perhaps the wrong time in the right place, who knows? She goes home and types furiously. She goes to work and types furiously and where do all those words go? Does anyone read them? Does anyone really care? What difference is she actually making? What happened to the fire and the belief and the conviction?

I should go quietly. Really I should. But it's not in my nature, you see. Nothing to lose, something to gain and does it matter if the gain is not personal but simply a small tiny little piece of sand in a wall so big she cannot possibly conceive of it. Does it matter she cannot conceive of it? Does it matter she cannot change the size or colour of the wall? Does it matter that she no longer believes she could bring the wall down entirely and assist in rebuilding it and sometimes wonders at the audacity that ever led her to believe she could?

Flicker, flicker, flicker. The candle gutters.

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