Finding the Connection October 18, 2011Posted by Matt in random.
Tags: connection to the universe, cubicles, My Morning Jacket, stormy day, work
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Thunder rolled over the city, growling and coughing like God trying to clear some celestial phlegm from his throat. It was soon joined by the rain, attacking the ground with machine gun ferocity, pounding away at the asphalt and the dirt over and over again, as the darkness of a cold October storm shrouded the land, leeching away any small bits of joy, extinguishing all hope, destroying the sanctity of sunshine.
And though I was spared the sight of the impending meteorological destruction of all happiness because of my mid-building cubicle, the one located along the main walkway where everyone strolls by and glances over with hopes of catching you looking at something illicit on the company computer, the melancholic mood permeated the building, infecting the workers like an unseen virus. Even my nondescript 8×8 cell in the midst of dozens of other cells felt the pall settling in the building. I sat, tapping away on the keyboard, creating meaningless report after meaningless report that will no doubt immediately end up in the recycling bin of everyone on the distribution list, as the almost daily feeling of my sanity slowly ebbing away began to take hold.
Feeling the need to escape, I slipped on my earbuds and pressed play on my beloved iPod. Soon the psychedelic sounds of My Morning Jacket and the unmistakable voice of Jim James exploded in my head, not pushing away the darkness, but embracing it, grabbing it about the waist and dancing with it.
Spinning out gracefully
Going nowhere quickly
I am older, day by day
Still going back to my childhood way
Round and round patiently
Getting lost by the guide
And I am all worked up over nothing
Circuits all runnin’ out
Connect my body deep into the ground
Circuits connect the earth to the moon
And link our heavenly bodies
And not a moment too soon.
And I started to feel it, that connection. Despite the rain and clouds, the honking cars and incessant typing seeming to come from miles around, it was there, stretching out of my head and into the sky, a ribbon into the cosmos, running through the solar system to distant stars and beyond, until, until…
“Hey, Matt, what’s up?”
Coming out of my trance, I shook my head, breaking the connection and returning to earth. Looking up I saw it was the guy in the next cube, the one with the Elvis haircut and the picture of a Harley displayed prominently on his desk.
“Hey, man, not much. Just doing my work.”
“Hell of a storm.”
“Yeah, I could hear it.”
“But they say it’s supposed to be sunny and nice for the rest of the week.”
Suddenly I couldn’t help but smile, “Cool, man.”
Ode To The Guy in the Next Cubicle May 9, 2011Posted by Matt in poetry.
Tags: bad poetry, cubicle life, work
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The guy in the next cube keeps talking to himself
And I’m not sure what he’s saying.
He’ll mutter along, occasionally curse
I can’t tell if he’s angry or playing.
“What!” he will shout for all to hear
Then commence with indecipherable grumbling
So deep and so loud the temporary walls start to shake
With the force of his low voiced rumbling
Is he insane? Is he disturbed?
Or maybe perhaps schizophrenic?
Should I be at all worried, should I alert my boss?
Or remain just a bystanding cynic?
He stands up, he sits down as his voice ebbs and flows
An auditory tide in an ocean of sound
I look for a weapon, just in case the man snaps
And I’m forced to take the lunatic down.
Then I notice something that was hidden before
Jutting out on the side of his head.
A wireless earpiece for his work phone
And nothing that should cause me this dread.
So the mystery’s solved, the case it is closed
With nothing worthy of a beating
Now it’s time to end the bad poetry
And get to the next boring old meeting…
A Surprise Move April 26, 2011Posted by Matt in personal stories.
Tags: moving day, office, work
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As most of you are probably aware, we were pummeled by violent storms last night and though our defenses against the marauding forces of mother nature held out at home, my work place was another matter.
When I arrived this morning, it was immediately apparent that something was amiss. Everyone on my wing was milling about in the hall as a musty smell wafted through the air. Soon they let me in on the problem: last night’s storm broke was of such strength that it blasted through the ceiling tiles in one office, causing rainwater to pour through and commence to flood the entire floor.
The carpet squished unnaturally as I walked to my cube where I discovered that everything was still intact. Sometimes it pays to be sequestered in a corner.
A few hours later the edict came down from above: it was time to move. Now, we had already had plans to move to another building across campus in a matter of months, but apparently the executive decision was made to epedite this transfer, so we packed our things and said sayonara to our old office space. Our offices were not quite ready to be used yet, so now we are in temporary cubes awaiting reassignment.
So, being moving day and all, I haven’t had time to think of anything substantial to write, so I hope you will enjoy this photograph of my temporary office.
Between Either and Or April 19, 2011Posted by Matt in philosophy.
Tags: balancing life and work, Bruce Springsteen, corporations, Either/Or, Elliott Smith, Kierkegaard, work
It was a difficult morning.
The sky was cloudy, the kids were crying, and to top it off, we were completely out of that life-giving elixir, coffee. When I finally pulled away from our babysitter’s home, running late as usual, it was with a sigh of stressful relief, knowing that a small piece of another busy day was complete, but also that time was short and the work ahead was long.
I have a good job, one that pays fairly well and has a decent amount of flexibility in the work day, but oftentimes the soulless, bottom-line philosophy undergirding every action of a corporation can wear on a person and stress becomes a fact of life. It becomes difficult to extricate oneself from the corporate machine with its overlapping deadlines, impersonal interactions, and its impassive eyes of stone that only see dollars and cents.
This morning I was scheduled to conduct a meeting at a location on the east side of the city, meaning that I would have a much longer commute that is normally necessary for my work, so before leaving town I grabbed a cup of coffee and chose an album to listen to while making the drive – Elliott Smith’s Either/Or.
As I made my way onto the crowded stretch of interstate, the melancholy sounds of an acoustic guitar and Smith’s whispery vocals filled the car and my mind started to wander. The album is of course named for Soren Kierkegaard’s book Either/Or, which talks of the inner, soul-shaking turmoil of humans between aesthetic pleasure and moral rightness, freedom and necessity, imagination and rules etched in stone.
As I drive this busy Memphis freeway I think of some of the dueling forces in my own soul, between the job that provides the income to support a family but that could easily suck away my very being, leaving behind only a shell of humanity, and the drive to do something worthwhile, to change the world for the better.
The tragic story of Elliott Smith is one where he ultimately couldn’t strike a balance in his life and succumbed to pain and anguish, dying of self-inflicted wounds at the age of 34. While I am certainly not suicidal, I see the danger in giving in and becoming just another corporate automaton whose life is defined by the bottom line.
I think of one of my favorite Springsteen songs, the poignant “Racing in the Street,” where he utters these prophetic lines:
Some guys they just give up living
And start dying little by little, piece by piece
Some guys come home from work and wash up
And go racing in the street.
That’s me. I want to go “racing in the street,” to not let my work swallow me whole, to keep my love for my fellow man intact. I want to recognize beauty and enjoy life to the fullest. As I drove the highway, passing by those numerous monuments to humankind, a beam of sunlight broke through the cloud cover, illuminating the ground around me and suddenly I knew it would be alright.
I am on the right track.
A Super Family December 15, 2010Posted by Matt in family.
Tags: family, the Incredibles, work
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Earlier this week Diana and I had one of those rare occasions (having opposite work schedules and 3 kids makes it a little difficult) where we actually get to have a conversation and we were talking a little about our jobs. It was then that I made a connection in my head.
She is a super-user of their software at the hospital.
I am the super-user of our software at my work.
Does that make us a family of superheroes? How cool is that?
When Time Stops January 6, 2010Posted by Matt in random.
Tags: alien visitation, space-time continuum, strange happenings, time stopped, work
This morning I braved the blistering, pre-blizzard, Memphis cold to commence with my normal routine – drop the kids off and go to work. So, I left the kids with our friends in Whitehaven and journeyed up Elvis Presley Boulevard, giving a little respectful nod to the king as I drove past his former domicile before pulling into the parking lot at my place of employment. I pulled my coat on a little tighter, grabbed my things and again stepped into the biting January winds.
Soon I was seated in my little corner cubicle, the spot where I spend every day and I began the next section of my routine. At some point I glanced down at my watch and noticed something peculiar. The hands were stopped at 8:15. Looking at my computer screen, I saw that the actual time was 8:30. Strange, but I guessed that the battery must have stopped at some point and continued on with my day.
This afternoon, around 2:30, I glanced down at my watch again out of habit and was floored by what I saw – the hands were moving again. The time said 2:05.
Somehow, someway, my watch stopped for 25 minutes this morning and then started again by itself, a strange occurrence that left me scratching my head. What could have caused this? Did I somehow step through a rip in the space-time continuum to 25 minutes in the future? Was it perhaps an alien visitation in which I probably suffered through a battery of inhuman experiments?
Oh well…at least my watch is working again…
Workday Conversations April 14, 2009Posted by Matt in Uncategorized.
Tags: conversation, Sponge Bob, work
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I was just strolling along toward my cubicle when I passed by two men who are in life situations similar to mine – early 30′s with kids – were engrossed in a deep non-work related conversation. I paused for a few moments to eavesdrop and say hello.
The topic of their conversation? Sponge Bob
That’s what small children will do to you.
Moving Day March 31, 2009Posted by Matt in Uncategorized.
Tags: moving, office, work
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This morning, my office moved from one building to another, so my day has been pretty crazy so far. I am now the proud(?) occupant of another, perhaps slightly larger, cubicle, but I’m still no closer to a window than before. My office is located right outside the door of my boss’s boss’s boss, so that could be interesting. The building sits just off lovely Brooks Road (those of you familiar with Whitehaven know that’s an oxymoron), which should cut my commute time by at least a few minutes.
That being said, setting up my new office and moving ahead with my normal duties will keep me from posting anything more than this – at least for now.
Watching the Inauguration January 20, 2009Posted by Matt in Barack Obama.
Tags: Barack Obama, inauguration, television, work
It was one of those historic moments in history, a time that will cause people for years to come to ask, “Where were you?” And I was at work with no clear plan for how I would watch the inauguration of our new president, Barack Obama.
Due to the strain put on our company’s bandwith and the multitude of people around the world wishing to witness the event online, watching it on my computer was out of the question. As the historic moment approached, I looked about dumbfounded and wondering what I could possibly do.
Soon, the answer seemed to become apparent for my boss had brought with him a small, battery-powered, black&white, analog television set for us to witness the grand event. More and more of my coworkers began to gather around the fuzzy screen, squinting and struggling to catch a glimpse of our new president. Soon, though, it became apparent that this arrangement was far from ideal, so one of those present went on a quest, searching for an open conference room with a television.
He quickly returned with the jubilant news, there was an open room, on the fourth floor, where the executives reside. Our group scrambled up the stairs and into the chosen room, complete with plush, leather chairs and a large screen plasma television. Ahhh…now that’s more like it.
So, I sat in that comfortable room with my coworkers, male and female, liberal and conservative, black and white, gay and straight. There were tears and cheers and smiles all around and it just seemed right.
What about you? Where did you watch it?