Monday, July 26, 2004

Point Of Singularity: Summer 2003

               I tried to remain anonymous at the meeting, partly to gauge various reactions from the gorgeous female fraternity available towards myself.  Which, as it turned out, angled more on the negative side.  At the end, they all piled out of the room without acknowledging me in anyway whatsoever.  Should I have justified my existence, rather than taking an immeasurable step back towards insignificance?  I had spent the whole time locked into this theory that someone was going to step on my toes if I presumed to speak and therefore I was on my guard, erring on the side of caution throughout the injunction period, which was a very tricky tact to say the least.
              I was the last one left in the meeting room after the drama, biding my own time, staring into a portrait of the then late director smirking down to his shoes in a display of grounded satisfaction.  What had he got to be so happy about?  His company had gone bankrupt; all his hidden assets had disappeared into the countryside estates; nine out of the fifteen board members were going to resign and already his wife was showing amnesia surrounding their long, though very grateful marriage, and besides, there was no more room to manoeuvre for anyone connected with this dying franchise.              There had been such a tangle of consciousness during the meeting:  Tempers were controlled heroically; ulterior motives dowsed; contracts were torn up into the shredders that were provided especially for the occasion.  Nobody in the minor junior ranks seemed to be concerned in the slightest degree about the juggling fates of all those who sat within the conference room, although this was all they had in the world.  Employees had to steel themselves away from the rupture this news would cause, not only to them but also to their families and to their family’s ancestors.  A torrid announcement was made by the contemporary chief director, who seemed quite dismayed, a couple of other contributions and then the aftermath – this took another two hours.  I had, as well as many others, lost everything except for this last perusal of the company portrait that I was now enjoying posthumously.
              I waited for some minutes until the rocking movements caused by a useless pen holder had at last obeyed the laws of gravity.  Only when this moment had arrived I felt it safe to leave my comfortable seat.  There was always a hidden logic to my impulses, even though I was unable to always grasp them fully for myself.
              My hand swayed inquisitively over certain office artefacts as I crossed the room to seek out a more tolerable environment.  Everything around the conference room felt hot to the touch contaminated by a kind of electric energy that half deliriously enfeebled me and half obliged me to stay with its activity for the time being.  What else was there to do now?
              After the sad assembly’s a bystander had witnessed that I had not spoken once, even when required to.  This same bystander also compounded the disharmony by clutching upon my inauthentic behaviour of myself and other vulnerable colleagues who were not there to defend themselves in the entirety.  I shook her off by a taciturn reaction in the wake of such freedoms governing outmoded hostility.  My shocking train of thought encouraged me to cut the wit by this lavish talker short, but no sooner had I received the temptation, I had quietly buried it to congeal my ownership with my varied habits of avoidance.  Hindsight would reveal pleasure’s greater decorum in reciprocation but this was a luxury gainsaid in this commercial world.  I enthusiastically hammed up my leave taking for the stage and allowed this none person to leave the scene without further ado, leaving me spelling out a shocking rejoinder in my forward imagination.  But what good would it do now after the event?
              Trouble like this had always proved my culpability for restraint, not in the least when it came to the world of public relations.  I thought about this as I ended my inspection around the room, a domain that I had temporarily annexed for myself and had power within to enforce my desires.  After all, everything had come to a halt for the serious transactions of veracity and now this was an appropriate refuge to coagulate proper my express thoughts.
              I decided, after a remedial delve into the mind’s secret recesses, I would recoup everything I had lost in this room from the dawn to the very dusk during my career, though under my tutelage everything in this room would conspire to serve me well.  A popular children’s fairy tale gave me the inspiration I so badly needed for this task:  The story covered the relationship between a brutish sorcerer and his useless but resourceful apprentice.  Unfortunately, I did not have the foggiest sense how to master the mind over matter bit needed for this, after all I was only human, and so I left that journeying reflection to follow another fancy scarcely before it was reaching its final destination.
              My mind now turned to the giant stairwell that adorned the side of the building, just a corridor away from where I was standing.  Not an attractive area to be sure but the story goes, amongst the depths of dirt, refuse and grime was something else with far greater complexity - a veritable spiritual circus allowing bizarre disturbances.  On passing this superstructure everyday I had usually not given it all a second thought, but I was made aware something or someone in the location of this area may be giving me a second thought or even more.
              The ceiling was the sky itself, an afterthought from the building process, not quite sure what it was doing flapping at the top, barely hidden from view but always a overcast greyish white patch.  It served no purpose other than to allow feint half-light to descend into the depths, shaping a lurid Jacob’s ladder from the blurred sky directly outside above.  There was a slight humming from the generator and the surrounding dust particles formed from some vile moisture that evaporated from the inviolable heights.  If there was anything worth salvaging from up there, it was bound not to be anywhere down here.  Surrounded by fag ends, little bits of pieces of office rubbish and litter, nobody could be blamed for the visions that had enlightened this mini dust bowel – an apparent active universe of space and time in itself.
              Finding the nub the matter involved seeking out the safest facts; nothing ought to be built on muddy conjecture alone; nothing should be relied upon without the knowledge of serious pieces of evidence.  On the other hand, I found this pursuit quite subjective, my own sphere of influence for the time being. 
              In more than one instance, I had been absorbed in an impression of a cowering boy in this venue; this boy would always refuse to show his face, always becoming perceptible at the same point of singularity within the stairwell.  It would appear to kowtow repeatedly, folding up and stretching out it arms ambidextrously.  I had looked carefully around to see if this facade had left a resounding stain on other reality plains; this ghost was certainly a regenerative nuisance.  Unfortunately, I found none such proofs easily; obviously this was a private performance and a one-act show just for my very own self to suspend belief.
              Like the conference room, this area imbibed a very high level of capacitance bonded with developing environmental humidity.  The derived point of singularity, where the boy sat on the lower steps, inclined a sensation akin to a billowing maelstrom that would extend and contract in energising waves, even occurring when there was nothing to catch the sight on my occasional way past this spot.  I have faith in that it may possibly be a scientific charade, a deeper unknown natural force; nevertheless so far I failed to run an exact theorem surrounding the phenomenon or apparition I had been subject to up until now.         
              Despite feeling quite dismissive towards this wistful young gentleman, I felt no subsequent hostility, and we both spent our time mutually exclusively.
              Certain historical references had been made about the building, within which I had loyally worked up until now, even though they were secondary consequence to me:  A male colleague wanted to clear the air in the aftermath of a hideously contrived debacle about the existing state of efficiency within the office environment.  My personal view is that he wanted to gratuitously stream his energetic wrath in my direction due to an unknown insecurity in his own character portrait.  I was only five minutes late into work, countermanding the window of one minute, which we had all agreed on as a team to target carefully.  He made a mighty fuss that had ironically wasted more time than I had been originally accused of loosing in the day’s debutant hours. 
              Both of us felt an urgent requirement to cool the environmental pressure without delay.  In return for his faithlessness towards me, he suddenly became willing to chat idly about the company’s origins.  I gathered that the offices had been built around a makeshift war hospital complete with a morgue for all the unfortunates who died during the home bombing raids during the last world war.  Undeniably, there was a wing in the present office block that seemed to me the epitome of what he was describing.  My thoughts promptly turned to these individual store rooms, set within a totally dilapidated area, besieged by a few management offices strategically placed around it so as not to cause offence to strangers, honoured guests or potential clients that may be walking around at random – an effect aimed to avoid monetary dismemberment at all costs.      
              One special room contained the remains of a wooden cross that had evidently survived time’s precincts for many to ventilate hungry imaginations now in the later half of the century.  Not quite a crucifix but two solid wooden planks hung in the greyish dust to herald a plague or perhaps some place to store dead bodies.  I now connected my point of singularity under the gyrating stairs with what my colleague was saying about the wartime morgue with immediate unqualified confirmation from older staff members surrounding my deductions.
              Curiously, this room was also a host to one of a score of hidden passages that had been constructed during the Roman occupation.  This formed one entrance to many such trade conveyor belts that swung underneath the town, ending up right by the riverside further down town.  Rich and wealthy traders would frequent such routes in an effort to bypass the teaming world above and march their goods directly to where they were needed underneath the merchant dwellings.        
              As an issue of red blanche that galvanised my colleagues face had now disappeared, we went our separate ways in order to fulfil our separate versions of making money.  However, I never gave any credence to the feasible supernatural association to morgues, tunnels and the potential for ghosts, as the situation may or may not have related to the little boy who sat by the stairs – this to my mind was altogether a contravening digression.  My standards of thinking were tempestuously scientific, not to be based on the elegiac mumbo jumbo that issued from a man’s mouth in compensation for a wounded ego, directed at earning respect within a dying office franchise.


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