"I have my books, and my poetry to protect me."
03 September 2010 at 10:02 am
I don't really enjoy the process of speaking. Or listening. I'm not very good at either.
If I don't have something to say, I try not to say anything, or else words just tumble out and none of them make proper sense.
I don't like saying things I haven't put too much thought into.
I loathe small talk, those conversations you have just to make sounds at each other, waves to fill a void that should be infused with an intimate chemistry.
I observe my boss and the salespeople, how they communicate at these company dinners, how they tell stories where everyone knows exactly where to laugh, especially when it's not funny, how disingenuous they choose to be, for money, to support their families, when they could be spending time with their families, and I think, I can't do that. It's not that I don't want to; I just can't. I shut down completely if I'm not where I want to be.
But I can do the admin stuff. It works out the bits of my brain that are weak, the mathy bits, and it is thusly that I justify spending nine hours a day sitting at a desk, determining exactly how little work I can do before anyone notices.
Some days, I close my office door and read blogs all day long.
Some days, I make up errands, post a letter that could wait until tomorrow, and go for a bike ride along the beach.
The boys ask how my day was.
"Busy," I say. They agree.
I work in an office with 20 something boys who can spend an entire dinner discussing the finer intricacies of fantasy football draft situations, who are grateful that I buy them soda and make them muffins and don't complain about their dirty dishes.
Perhaps they know how little work I do, and don't care, or report it to the boss, and he doesn't care, or he's saving that information for some other time. But I only have one goal at this job: get fired, or hang on until April to get my 5k annual bonus and then work harder at getting fired.
In the meantime: how was your weekend? Oh yeah, sounds fun. Shall we have another fucking conversation about iPhones? Please, let's discuss your upcoming wedding, because I am Interested. I Care. I will Nod and Mm-Hmm in all the right places. I will Tsk and make a mental note to remember where we left off, so I can inquire tomorrow about how the meeting with the florist went, how the barbecue with the neighbors went, how bowling was, and please, oh jesus, please, I can't stand another minute until I hear everyone's soliloquy on Inception.
It's not their fault; they're good people. I'm the introverted misanthrope, the one who doesn't necessarily value human connection, who would rather spend an entire day holed up in the office and never hear not one voice besides the sweet, sweet tenor of Tom Ashbrook blessedly cutting someone off.
We get it, he says. Your point has been made. No need to say anything further.
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