Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Bivouac in hell

He is dressed in pink today. He takes the laptop out of my hands without so much as an inquisitive glance. We have settled into a familiar silence around here. Broken? - Yup. It’s fixed, come get it.- Thanks. And there is always “I give up,” but that needs no words, it’s all in the air. I know, we are all overworked, Kelly said to us last week, and I remember wondering if those who dabble are as “overworked” as those who try to fix something. It depends on our unit of measurement, I suppose.

So I careen down the hall and seclude myself in the room that used to be a closet and is now a help desk. If I had been polled I would have named it helpless desk, since we are all helpless in there. Before the rigmarole and travesty we turn numb, like lifeless limbs, staring at each other and asking “So... any more problems?” A problem that is never fixed but perpetually patched is bound to surface some time, I suppose. All we can do is to become more adroit at ignoring it. Here, at least, we are doing well.

In the same manner of inertial complacence I stare at this screen and talk to it. I become one of those people who talk to computers as if they were fastidious humans. “Come on, computer. Please.” I roll my eyes and crave for a drink. My ghost in the holiday house extends a lanky claw toward the tequila bottle that I left, with unmistakable precision, under the fish tank. She gulps the anesthetic and sighs with her ethereal being. But I feel nothing. Nothing burns my esophagus and life is as bitter as ever. Eyelids open and the screen ogles me impolitely. Come on, computer. Please.

Last night while I meandered through the boisterous rooms looking for some machine to fix I came across this tiny creature who insisted that her computer hates her. You exaggerate, tiny creature, I said to her without letting her know how irksome her existence was. But she would not relent. Malevolent computer with a life of its own, full of hostility. Hates her, by god. A horse that would not let himself be tamed, is that so? Well, tiny creature, computers don’t do things unless told to. Perhaps the fault is yours for not understanding how it works. Perhaps. Do you even hear me?

Closing the door behind me I disfigure myself with a gigantic grin to shake off the irritation. And off to the next one. My computer hates me. If I hear this one. more. time.

Finally back to the temple, where I plaster up my face with pink clay and engage in my secret single behavior. Wait a minute – I don’t have that anymore. Last year I decided that the secret single behavior took too much time and too many cosmetics. It did not fit well with my future life as an itinerant. To be honest it would not sit well in my autobiography either. So I discarded it without second thoughts. Now I only do the clay. It freaks people out. It gives them something to talk about. And they need it.

It is more than fatigue that contaminates my existence these days. More even than ennui at my job as a versatile pawn. Ever since I saw that movie I do not seem to settle anywhere. Even as I am sitting the mind races, overheats, overthinks. I have not been on my bike for days. I wish that everybody could go to hell for a day so I could take off into the opposite direction. But there is no shuttle to hell. There is only one to the mall, every Friday at 6, and there was one to the Social Security Kafka novel today. Nothing else on the itinerary. So I sulk and with infinite reluctance lie on the floor to read soporific literature from ancient times. I do it stoically, mind you, only because when I am done I will have deserved to switch to my beloved Nabokov and end the day that way.

Somehow every day seems to end with a Russian.

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