Friday, January 6, 2017

It Would Seem to Be Me

So maybe not quite the start to the year we were hoping for...
Much to the dismay of many of the people with whom I share office space, I returned to work earlier this week after taking a break for the holiday. Between you and me, taking more than just a few days off gave many of my office neighbors a far greater respite than the vacation time provided me, I suspect. As is the case far too often, they've certainly earned it.

Maybe you have one where you work-I am without a doubt that guy here where I work: the person who improves the place when he leaves for the day. Yep, that's me. Please don't misunderstand, the people with whom I share the building are very pleasant and easy-going (or they'd have long since disposed of me without leaving a trace, they are that smart), and I'm not obnoxious or obtrusive or loud (which probably surprises some, if not all, who grew up with me as children or who are or once were residents under my roof).

Too many years of working overnight board shifts in a radio control room have left me with a habit of talking to myself. I'm actually reading this aloud as I type it, and commenting on the quality (and lack thereof) of the writing. If you're very quiet you might actually hear me. I talk to think (though vice versa would get me into far less trouble, I suppose) and since, through my actions, I so rarely demonstrate any thought, most people are put off by the chatter that I've created as a soundtrack to my life.

I can't help it--sitting at a light and looking at the car in the next lane as their front-seat passenger gets a very odd look, I realize I talk to myself in the car as well. To my credit, I often note points in the ongoing self-discussion that I missed in earlier conversations-and because I was raised to have some modicum of manners, I always concede a well-made point even if it's made at my expense, by myself. The conversations are never abusive or abrasive-I cannot recall one time where I've called myself out or told me that 'I'm not there in five minutes, start without me.'

It can be a challenge for people who have defined jobs and the talents to do them well, to interact with an escapee from the Island of Misfit Toys, whose skills (and absence of same) have long kept him from being functional and whose looks have prevented decorative from being an alternative career path.

I've spent most of the time since I returned to work watching people's faces flicker with a trace of momentary disappointment when they first see me (and that I'm 'back' despite popular demand) before offering in that friendly in a non-committal way, accompanied by a 'welcome back and hope your holidays were great,' wish.

I'm not good at small talk-I don't know many of their names even though we've worked in the same space for years, and I have no desire to know any more about them than I already do. I never encounter them when we're not at work, which I think is a small mercy of Divine Providence for all of them, and their lives seem quite pleasant and fulfilling without my becoming a part of them.

For some my return means their new year is not off to much of a start which is sad, except the good news might be with the bar of expectations now set so low, almost anything will be a step in the right direction. And, a small point of light for anyone keeping track--this isn't a leap year, so at least you won't have to work around me for an additional day.
-bill kenny

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