Seven Floors Up, Six Worlds From Home


My hands are red from the length of rubber tubing I keep in my bag, the veins on my forearms are full, engorged. I wrap the tube around my hands and tuck a loop under my boot for curls; 60 per arm, another thirty spent in straight lifts. My shoulders feel like a dull roar, which is nice. I used to be self-conscious about it. People would walk by my cube and say, “Oh, you’ve got your little fitness thing happening there!” That usually gets a blank look from me. I’m not being rude, I just don’t know what to say in return. All the evidence is laid out on the table. Did that require a comment, or a witty observation? However, we are nothing without manners. “Yes.” I smile and continue.

The office is dead right now – I sifted through The Guardian, The Independent, CNN, and six other websites in search of news related to the Project. Nothing. I can’t complain; it’s an excuse to educate myself. Hard times stand gaunt and skeletal outside my window. I’m grateful to have a job, period. Christmas always means layoffs somewhere.

I spent some time online last night looking up information on ferrets. Thought maybe I’d get a pet, something that would be happy to see me when I walked in the door, something to talk to. I’ve decided a cat would be simpler, just gotta figure out where to put the litter box.

It takes me a moment to realize that I’M the polite young man no one knows anything about. The neighbors know nothing of me. I’ve said hello in the hallway a few times, but they just keep walking. Nervous hands drive jingling keys in a scramble for the lock. My co-workers see only the cordial guy with the tattoos on his arms, and seven dollar haircut. No one stops by my cube, except to ask some mundane question about work, which is the equivalent of the ‘coversheet on the TPS report’ question from Office Space.

I’d go mad if I didn’t have my iPod with me. Guitar is such a guttural word; just a hollow box of wood with some strings running along the long axis. The sound, however, can turn you inside out. It can make you light and happy one minute, or send you crashing to the ground the next. It can take you back in time and drag you through the muddy riverbank of memories, or make you hopeful and optimistic about your future.

Neither side of the coin stays ‘heads’ for long. It just keeps spinning, waiting for that final moment when the Great Hand will slap down hard and say, “CALL IT.”

TWM

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