I locked my bike to the bike rack today, locking it but only twisting one digit, in such a way that if anyone tried a couple combinations, plus or minus one, he’d be able to steal it. Not that anyone working at Rich Software, inc. in Suburbia, USA would steal an average bike anyway. Someone stole my helmet off my bike the other day at Giant Eagle in Suburbia, USA, though. The lock was locked the same way, just twisting one digit- and still locked when I returned.

I got myself a glass of ice water, even though pop (and coffee) is free. Most of the people I work with are overweight. I read somewhere once that “engineers in general tend to be in good shape. Computer hardware engineers in particular. Software engineers tend to be a bit rounder.”

As I left the cafeteria, (called the “diner” for nostalgia’s sake, I guess, although the CEO is probably in his 30’s- he doesn’t have anything to be nostalgic about! Called the “diner” for the same fake sense of nostalgia you get when people talk about the good ol' days of baseball) I ran into George, the Vice President of QA. QA means Quality Assurance, which means software testing, but I guess you can’t have a Department of Testing. Just one level too direct.

Anyway, George, probably in his late 50’s, clearly defies the “round” standard of software engineers. He’s tall, skinny, and angular. And imposing. A gangly bogeyman Vice President of Quality Assurance. He’s always around our cubicle area, I constantly hear his tall, angular, and imposing voice, when he’s telling people to “update to the latest build” or some such nonsense. Some people, particularly managers, say he’s a great guy. Our “training director” said that George was the reason he came to work at Hyland. It’s true, he seems likeable enough- almost paternal. He learned my name the second day I was there, I give him credit. The tall, forceful, fatherly skeleton Vice President of Quality Assurance.

He gave me that nigh-condescending “How are you today, Dan?” with a touch of “and” before the “how”, like Stan Laurel or something: “And how are you today, Dan?” His presence forced my voice into submission; my strong, planned “Hi George, good, how about you?” ran together as he strode past (quickly, of course). It came out as a mumble, “Hijorgoodhrbrt you?” This is partially because I’ve never been too sure about addressing the Vice President of Quality Assurance as “George”, even though everyone does. He’s the kind of guy you wouldn’t want to offend- he’d laugh it off, but there’d be a subconscious tick back there somewhere, and since he probably controls the company, he’d eventually have you fired and blacklisted. He responded “Good.” with a downward pitch. I couldn’t tell if that meant “I’m good too” or “It’s good that you’re doing good.” Probably both.

I swiped my card in the clock-in machine. It was 9:13. Oh well, last time I came in on time was a long time ago. Does anyone notice? I’m sure someone does. And hey, it comes out of my paycheck, so there you go. Yesterday was nice: as I was clocking out, I fumbled with my wallet, and just before I swiped my card, the clock’s minute changed. That fumble earned me 25 cents. (17.18 cents after taxes, but hell, whatever. Why whine about taxes? Everyone else already is.)

I fired up my computer, packed my bags for the day-long cruise in the ocean of ennui. Looked at my map of Copper Mountain ski resort, realized how nicely divided the trails are. There are your green circles, all in one spot, there’s a lift serving only blue squares. There are the back bowls, slashed with yellow to indicate “high alpine adventure terrain.” The back of the mountain was closed the day I was there, but you can tell their majesty just from the map. Nobody talks much around here, even at lunch, but one of my coworkers noticed my love of skiing today and it provided a good four minutes of conversation.

The other day, I burned my hand while cooking- the first thought through my head was not “ow” but “at least this will provide something to talk about.”

Damn, that got grim in a hurry! Sorry about that! Maybe I’ll continue it and turn it back to a happy note. What do you think? More observations or other somewhat creative writings? or “stop being a pretentious corporate-america-bashing indie fuck and go back to writing what happens each day”? or “good start, but that was really poorly written, and it didn’t even have a conflict”? let me know if it held your interest, shoot, post anonymous if you like. It was fun to write anyway.


Brian -

I’ve been listening to a CD of David Sedaris reading David Sedaris. I thought your story, while lacking the This American Life moral punch at the end, reminded me of Sedaris in the careful attention to visual description, the fact that by the end i forgot what the beginning was, and, of course, the reincorporation.

just saying.

Anonymous -

Actually interesting…write more. I laughed.

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