The twilight zone in the industrial wastelands

Slouched in my seat at work, with my shoulders hunched, my tongue lolling slightly from the side of my mouth, my eyes glazed with disinterest, I stared at my computer screen.

 It’s a Wednesday. It feels like a Monday. It always feels like a Monday in the dank, grey world of the  industrial wastelands of County Dublin.

 At least the coffee is good. It’s important to pay attention to details like. Not that my glorious employer is being particularly considerate. But when one works in a place as bleak as this, certain incentives must be offered to motivate the noble staff make it from one end of the week to the next.

 After my breakfast (a slice of toast, a boiled egg and a banana) I took my third mug of coffee to my desk and looked vacantly at the screen. A spool of drool was threatening to escape my mouth. I shook myself out of my semi-stupor. It wouldn’t be acceptable to be witnessed in a state of such disinterest. They might guess the truth – that I am firing on about 60% of cylinders while in paid employment. My company loves the razzmatazz of fake employee engagement you see.

We don’t have chats. We have powerful engagement with each other. We don’t ask questions. Like the Four Tops, we reach out to one another. We don’t think outside the box – with our passion for our customers we have never been confined to something as constricting as a box.

The gentleman seated in the desk directly in front of mine is on holidays this week. I heard a rustle from his space. I glanced over to see a colleague from the Munster office.

 She greeted me. And then she frightened the living daylights out of me.

 ‘Did you enjoy the Food Festival in Limerick on Saturday?’

What on earth was this? How did she know I was there? I never mentioned it to her previously. Nobody at work knew I was there. Please Dolly please don’t let her have found my blog. If so then I will have to go through it with a fine tooth comb, to scrub it of any reference to this place.

‘Yes I did,’ I nonchalantly replied. Play it cool Murphy. Get your bearings and we can see how to proceed.

Stephanie (not her real name) enjoyed the conversation she had with you at it.’

I stared at her in confusion. Stephanie? I knew who she meant of course. But I hadn’t met her over the weekend. Or had I?

Had I actually met and chatted with a Belgian person, while eating chips with cheese curd, smothered in gravy, and forgotten the entire encounter? Was I loosing my grip on reality? What the hell was this all about?

I knew (or at least strongly suspected) that I had not bumped into Belgian Stephie over the long weekend.

 ‘I didn’t meet Stephanie’ I nervously replied.

 ‘Well she must have seen you at the festival at least. She’s a bit mad though. Perhaps the conversation was all in her imagination.’

 I agreed with her. Then I laughed nervously and diverted my gaze back to my computer screen.

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