Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Work and Play

At work it feels like something ineffable, some unmeasurable yet crucial essence, is evaporating by the minute. Our boss's boss sent an e-mail about the reorg in our group.

Is it a group, really? Might be more of a department. Could be a sector, or a division. Not too sure.

It was four or five breathless paragraphs long, a stammering plea to not worry about potential consequences, not that there might be any, but just the same, don't worry. He signed off with a strange and backhanded cheer: Thanks for continuing to make our product the huge success we all know it can be!

Smiley face.

At work we play at work. We lean back and forth in our chairs, facing down the shifting screen, scrutinizing it again and again as though at any moment it may finally enter some terminal state of resolution, at which point we could swivel around and begin to live.

We leap up and play foosball. The game is the abstraction of our rage, frustration and desires. It's also a surrogate activity to indulge long-dormant athletic aspirations, reawakened by the emphatic clank of well-struck balls in the back of the table's metal throats.

There's a guy Sumit, his name's pronounced Sumeet but we call him Summit, and he's the best player of all. He gathers up and controls the ball with the matter-of-fact determination of a child gathering sand to build a castle. Then a flick of the wrist and the ball is down the goal like a bullet. It provokes anguished gasps from the opposite side, and nervous laughter. But he never smiles or makes a sound.