Sunday, October 28, 2007

god is work

A friend of mine worked in an office where people complained all day.
They were unhappy and wanted to leave but didn't. A budget cut
happened and many of these people were laid off. As they cleaned out
their desks, they cried. People in the greatest most powerful country
in the history of the Earth, trapped as slaves in their jobs which paid
60,000, 80,000, 100,000. The money did not matter, I am sure all of
them yearned to be out in the sun and not working for the weekend or
that 2 week vacation in a resort in the Caribbean. Instead they were
stuck 8 hours plus, in front of a computer in air conditioning. Damned
if they did, damned if they didn't. There was no way out for them,
they were destined to be unhappy.

I have visited "progressive" do gooding organizations that look the
same. The work they do is suppose to be different yet I see no
difference. Everybody in front of their computer in an office, all
day, working, as if process did not inform outcomes. When you talk to
many of them they look just as tired and worn out as the rest. They
pay lip service to the importance of their work but in an abstract
religious way. They choose something that made it easier for them to
sit in front of a computer all day, thats the difference, but what
equalizes all of us is the slavery to the office and the computer.

Makes me wonder about my mother, a clerk in an office for 20 years. I
remember I went to work with her once and she spent 2 hours licking
stamps and sealing envelopes. I thought, wow, I am at home watching TV
and fooling around while my mother seals envelopes so that I can fool
around and watch TV. My mother never complained about her job, never
said she was tired and I came to realize she was adored at work. She
worked mostly with African American women and was the first Indian
woman in her unit. At her retirement party I realized what a presence
she was for the office. She was everybody's confidant and took on
people's work and helped out everyone the best she could. In her own
way she forged goodness and light in a dark situation. Thats what I
have realized always, that no matter how bad the situation, humanity,
goodness, the light, lurks somewhere somehow with someone. Our free
will comes in, in choosing what side we want to be on. Maintaining
love in darkness, when nobody is watching and we don't know why we do
what we do. When you will get nothing in return and you still pick the
path of light.

I do that but don't feel alone. I have always imagined that I am being
filmed, not in a big brother way but in a french avant garde way. I
want my film to be beautiful, I pay attention to my movements and even
how I soap my belly. I remember to smile from time to time and make my
bed in the morning. To let the tea kettle whistle as I smoke listening
to jazz. Reading the paper on the can, writing poetry in the wind,
blowing kisses to the pretty school girls in plaid skirts. Yeah, the
camera never stops.

I asked my mother if she liked her job. And she said yes, it was nice
for her. It was good because she knew she was giving me a life,
putting food on the table and helping her family get ahead. She had a
purpose and it was other people. Those people in my friend's office, I
wonder why that wasn't enough? Why were they unhappy and my mother
happy? Maybe they wanted more, or expected more from life. My mother
was content that she helped support her family and educate her
children. I don't know if that will be enough for me and I wonder if
that makes me worse or better as a person.

1 comment:

DearlyBeloved said...

Ive often walked the streets of New York City, headphones in my ears, a bright smile on my face, hips swaying to the beat, hair bouncing with each step and I've too pretended I am part of a film. I try to throw in a small soliloquy now and then to makes things interesting. And there are no better props for your set than busy streets, nature, and your most intimate space.