Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Your choice

She stretched luxuriantly. Her right leg straightened to its full extent, the left remained slightly bent, the heel just touching the floor. Her back arched and her whole torso tilted backwards, using the legs as a counter balance. The hands reached high and for a moment she was frozen in a tableau of celebration.

Then she exhaled deeply and retracted her extended limbs in order to slump before the diabolical screen once more.

It had been a long, long day and there was no obvious escape from her desk in sight.

She sighed, her chin dropped into her hand and she gazed forlornly at the words before her, reading for maybe the thousandth time the budget proposal and projected benefits of the dull-as-ditchwater plan to de-localise the company's dependence on external providers.

The deadline was tomorrow, but she felt no urgency, no excitement, no anticipation of success upon completion. This was not a dream, nor a goal. It was a job. It, she kept telling herself, was paying the rent.

Perhaps the rent wasn't so important.

She did the keyboard and mouse equivalent of prodding a squishy object to see if it makes any kind of permanent difference, or if it just temporarily deforms. The words on the screen flow and the timestamp on the temporary file updates, but nothing really happens.

Slumping back in her chair she gazed at the ceiling. That crack in the the tile above her was driving her mad. It had been there for months, never changing, never growing, just there... Never being replaced with something better. She looked at the clock. It was 2:30.

Time went so slowly in this place. She felt absolutely certain that if she disappeared for 6 months there would be absolutely no impact on the company. They would get along perfectly well without her.

Why don't you? A little voice in her ear made her jump and glance over her shoulder. The world went hazy for a fraction of a second. She shook her head, confused, and everything returned to stability.

She stared at her screen again, but this time didn't see the words. All she could see was the idea. She had no purpose here. There was nothing she could do that would ever be valued. Why not go somewhere where she was valued?

But where?

Her screen swam into focus again. The words of the budget proposal annoyed her - she was sure she could do a better job of the projected cost and benefits, if she just had the right software. Skimming the opening paragraphs, she began making notes, suggestions and alterations. Eventually she cast aside her sense of obligation and started a new version, stripping out the rubbish and building a brand new proposal. Around her, people got on with their jobs, eventually going home. As the last person left the office she called out an assurance that she wouldn't be long now.

Suddenly she was blinking awake in a darkened room, and the hypnotherapist was staring down at her. She was 12 again, and knew exactly who and what she was. Looking up at the hypnotherapist she managed to croak a single word: "What..?" before the paperwork was thrust at her and she was shoved out of the room to make way for her classmate. The secretary took the paperwork off her outside the room and scanned it - briefly, but with genuine interest - before looking up, smiling and allocating her the classes she would be taking for the next 6 years: "Congratulations! You want to be an accountant."