Coffee: Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee
There were two kids in my office who couldn’t help climbing over each other. Their dad tried to stop them but they kept going. They laughed at fart jokes and hid small plastic fishes below the desk. Every so often, one would run out the door and into the halls, blowing fog on my glass office walls, and waiting for their sibling to make faces. Dad was calm through all of it and out of his element. Brilliant laughs, private education, no consequences, I wondered who these kids will be.
It was the last day before my coworker’s retirement. She’s been working part time for 35 years. She told us not to make much of it, that she didn’t want to cry, but we couldn’t help bringing balloons and flowers and different potluck dishes. Our office manager bought an ice-cream cake. It tasted like the kind you find at every five-year-old’s birthday party, which at first seemed kind of silly for a retirement, but then seemed kind of perfect.
It’s hard to see where you’re headed. In retrospect, though, the answers approach you as obvious. They’re the nameless but familiar faces in the supermarket, a ‘Ted’ or ‘Marge’ or ‘what’s-her-name,’ coming up and tapping you on the shoulder, saying how nice it is to see you, unsettling like a flat glass of soda, knowing something more about you than you know of yourself. 35 years from now, will that brother and sister who were falling all over each other look back to my office and see the hidden fishes? And if they do, will they realize all the spots inside themselves that were born in nooks and crannies of a banker’s desk, or running wild in the halls while their half-absent father called?
Nothing wrong with hoping we’ll all make it to a happy retirement.
Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller
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He knew now that it was his own will to happiness which must make the next move. But if he was to do so, he realized that he must come to terms with time, that to have time was at once the most magnificent and the most dangerous of experiments.Albert Camus, A Happy Death