Saturday, October 29, 2011

We are too Smart for this to be our Story, I hope.

It was a Monday morning. And that should be enough for you to guess the kind of morning it was. There was not a smile to be seen. Except the fake smiles of the perennially and artificially happy. The ones who claimed they had made peace with the way of the modern world.

The weather, oppressively hot, accentuated the emotions of the others- the hapless office-going crowd for whom saying goodbye to the Sunday had been heart-wrenching. The individuals who made up the crowd had long since recognized the futility of their attempt to be individuals and had grudgingly assumed their designated roles of  cogs in the giant capitalist wheel. Their weekly revolutions as cogs were punctuated with periodic symbolic protests at the system- they would utilize the office internet for deviant purposes one day, they would show up at work without shaving the next. But they all recognized the protests, if such demonstrations could be termed protests, that is, for what they were- a weak stab at convincing themselves that whilst their bodies were for hire, their minds were free to roam the plains of radical thought and to at least think of doing the things they always wanted to do and that this was, surely, a small victory.

But they were ashamed of themselves. And never quite knew whether their shame was justified.

On this particular Monday morning, however, one of them had had enough. One of them had decided he would no longer pretend.

So, as he walked into the lobby of his office building, smiling at his colleagues, his mind made up about the course of action that he felt was his destiny, he was happy. He was, for the first time since he had started his job, truly happy.

In his mind, sequences from Jeremy and He was a Quiet Man played out and he imported his consciousness into that of the protagonists'. He reassured himself it was the right thing to do.

He walked into his boss's office without knocking. To his mind, it was a final act of defiance to complete his day of defiance - he had decided that today would pan out on his terms and was wearing his black, faded t-shirt and his favorite pair of jeans and he looked disheveled, as he had routinely done through college- before he ended it all. The boss looked up, but did not recognize the look of pure loathing he was being given and inquired, in that polite but condescending manner characteristic of most bosses, "Yes?". Why are you, a waste of the world's space, being a waste of my time as well?

That was the final straw. He had expected this look and had primed himself for this moment. He reached into the back pocket of his jeans and pulled out what had been nestling there uncomfortably throughout the cab ride and his shuffling, nonchalant and what he thought of as a non office-goer walk up through the lobby and into his boss's corner office.

He pulled out...

His resignation letter.

And he placed it, with an exaggerated motion resulting in a loud thump and with his face crunched up to reflect what he hoped was the apt expression to go with this moment, on his boss's unnecessarily large, rectangular teak-wood table. Carefully drafted over the weekend, full of the choicest abuses and sarcasm, it was, to his proud fatherly mind, the epitome of resignation letters. After having waited a full minute while he watched his boss's normally inscrutable face going from its normal pale (from not receiving enough sunlight) white to a rather curiously shaded red, he said, "There. I've resigned. Now I can say what I have thought every single day since I started work under you. And that is...". Here, he paused for dramatic effect, before shouting, "Fuck you!". As soon as those words were out of his mouth, he felt that he could have better chosen his words. Maybe he could have fortified his "Fuck you" with a "you capitalist slave!" or better still, he could have gone for a harder hitting, less cliched "I pity you, you ball-less excuse for a man!"

His ex-boss's face went a shade redder, tottering on the brink of being burgundy.

And now (for today is Tuesday, one day but, for our protagonist, a lifetime removed from the Monday), he is staggering through the first day of his three-month notice period, as he was contractually obliged to do. He cannot afford to forfeit the bond money.

He is also regretting having quit in such a dramatic manner. Because his resignation letter, written in a haze of intoxication, had been worded in a manner that had angered his boss to such an extent that if it was legal, his boss would have had him slowly tortured by the extremely imaginative Russian mafia and then shot. In any event, it was more than enough to make his boss ensure that chances of him finding employment in the same or any related industry which would value his skill-set were virtually nil. In the darkness of substance induced euphoria, the letter had had an allure reminiscent of, and associated with, engaging in forbidden pleasures for the first time.

In the blinding light of common sense, however, it looked like what it was- a temptress whose seductive, suggestive appearances have to cloaked by the black velvet cloth of the night to be effective and who, by day, looks positively revolting.

And, after having served out his notice period, he will probably have to take up some low-paying job somewhere.

He will probably have to, in the course of such employment, serve or otherwise entertain several of his colleagues, who will give him looks, partly smug and partly sympathetic.

He will probably have to grin and bear it all, and take the measly tips they leave him and save up for whatever sad little thing or activity he will find solace in. Maybe a holiday with his family to a nearby cheap resort.

And he will surely hate his life.


Lesson: Don't be stupid. Even if it is Monday. And even if you feel like shit.

(Diesel Jeans may exhort to the contrary. But, well, it's Diesel Jeans. You'd have to be stupid to take that ad campaign seriously. So, the campaign may, in effect, in all its circular logical glory, be actually working. Who knows?) 

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