The Logical Philosopher

Sunday, March 12, 2006

I'm fine, thank you very much

The music is different,
The people are different,
The vibrations are different,
Something different radiates...

I have always felt that along with my family, my work and school also defined who I was. It shaped and fueled my passions; connected me to parts of the community I would otherwise not; gave me something to talk about when I met a distant work associate out of the office. I still feel that way, but with my recent time off work, now something seems...different. "It" is, without a doubt, slowly shifting with the sands of time.

Opinionistias was right in her Defining post: People are labeled by 'what they do', and when that is removed, things can get boring at parties unless you start saying things like "I'm the girl in the giant banana suit passing out smoothie coupons on 51st and Lex." I need to come up with some good lines...but I digress.

I was at work last week during the day to pickup some documents. I hadn't been to the office during the day in 3 or 4 months. Usually it's just a stealth mission, undertaken in the glow of the computer screens and flickering status indicators: in, pickup paperwork, out. I am covert... But not this time as it was daytime. Although I had a premetiated clandestine insertion plan, it was hard to duck for cover in my office when I discovered my office had been boxed up and packed away into several random cubicles. Crap. So there I stood, deciding what to do as the new tenant, oblivious to my presence, toiled away under my still hanging Lance Armstrong poster. At least they left that up...Maybe they will unpack it for my return, or maybe they just felt they didn't need to add to my worries. As I said last month in my Epiphany of the S-factor, this was small in the scope of life so I moved on to find a free office.

I headed down the hall, in search of an empty office to blitzkrieg for the next hour, when one work associate called out to me "Hey Geoff, good to see you!". Nice, but my name is not Geoff, not even close actually.

Someone else saw me and stopped me, "Hey LP [note real name used accurately here], been looking for you. Do you have the X flies in your office?" She had her usual clipped tone of "I'm going somewhere and you are my critical path, so get on with it so I can be important elsewhere."

"Don't know, why don't you ask M? He is taking care of that in my absence."

There was a slight pause before she continued, unsure of what that actually meant. "What absence?" she slowly responded. I saw some small 'potential danger' lights flickering in the back of her head, but I decided to use my energy elsewhere...although in hindsight it would have been much more fun to string her along with something like "Didn't you hear? I got promoted to a VP and I'm away for training to take over your job!"

I opted for the nice route: "Don't worry about it, just talk to M."

"Ok, thanks" she cheerily replied (fake cheer at this point), heading off oblivious only as senior management can be. I'd been gone for 7 months... guess she missed the memo.

It's funny how when you work in a place for seven years,
people can be so superficial, desensitized to the real meaning of their words.

Where "How are you?" is a greeting, not a query.
Where "Fine thanks." is expected, else upsetting the flow of the conversation.

Yes, this visit something different radiated. Maybe I am treated differently now due to my absence; or maybe I have too much time to think about it; mabye my re-reading of Thoreau is really starting to sink in this time; or maybe I have slowed down enough to see things for what they really are.

I always say "so tell me how you are today" to my Acupuncturist. With weekly visits over the past several months we've gotten to know each other much better. He says the phrase is different and it stands out, mostly because he knows I'm asking because I want to know, not just to be nice before he sticks some needles in me.

I'm looking forward to getting back to work to ask people "Tell me how you are today." I wonder if anyone will notice. Probably not.

If not, their loss, not mine...
because sometimes realizing what the "different thing" is,
so you can really appreciate all that is happening around you,
can be a good change.