Friday, September 04, 2009

What We Are Waiting For

The Chief Science Officer came down from the lab just to tell us in the office all the things that he and the other lab guys didn't know. "We don't know if it will work." he says. "We can't know everything and one of the things we can't know is whether it will work."

Our Marketing VP had already made several promises--several promises to our sales guys, who had made several promises to our wholesale customers. We had also made several promises to ourselves and to our families. Our families' promises to us in return were dependent upon our ability to deliver on our initial promises... the ones based on the many things that we don't know--can't know--and specifically on the possibility of the thing working.

The ability of the thing to work, according to the science chap, was partially dependent upon the delivery of a specially ordered part. We are awaiting delivery of the part. The part that is supposedly essential to the thing working.

"We are waiting for it to come, is all we know," said the foreman of the warehouse. When will it come? we ask the forklift operator. "Can't be said." we hear back.

What concerns us most is not the part and whether or not it will come. We are concerned about that. But more importantly, what we are most concerned about is, will the thing work? But that isn't what really concerns us. When we consider what concerns us most, we are often not honest with ourselves. We are concerned about the part. We are concerned about the thing. But really what matters most is can we live with it? How will we live if the thing doesn't work? How will we live if it does?

It's not that we don't know what to do. It's just that we don't know if we care to do the things we promised to do. We don't know if, after the part for the thing has been proven to work or not, we will still be interested in fulfilling the promises we made to our customers, or ourselves, or our families. And the fact that these promises are dependent upon one another... if one is broken then the rest will fold... doesn't that bother us? Or, more to the point, doesn't it make us consider the unpleasant business behind the agreements that keep us together?

Sure it does. It makes us wonder if we really care at all. What is a promise? we ask ourselves.

We can't be honest with ourselves about everything and one of the things we can't be honest with ourselves about is what will happen afterward. But this is us not being honest again. Because what we really can't be honest with ourselves about is whether we truly care about what will happen.

It's a tiresome state of affairs. It bores us. It makes us want to call the whole thing off. But we aren't in charge of the corporation, we just work in the office. The corporation is it's own entity, owned by several shadow entities. We can't call the whole thing off, even if we wanted to, which we don't know if we do--which we can't know.

It's just one of those things that we can't know, out of the many.

I get away, almost every day, ...

I get away, almost every day, with what the girls call, the girls call, the girls call murder.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

How the Village Was Planned

At night he would work on his village,
sketching out plans for back-roads and highways,
like elegant laceworks
threaded about the real estate,
which yielded a constant, gratifying traffic.
The busiest of the intersections would need
to be tended to many times a day- repairs made
and signs changed when necessary. In this manner
the villagers, kept so engaged by their professions,
would come home exhausted- so tired
their blood would hardly budge through their veins.
They would wake up remembering clandestine dreams
of trees bent in water
and long, tranquil dreams of lightning.
And the younger villagers dreamt of life
without the others,
kept noticing an invisible bower,
building houses inside houses that hadn't previously existed.
In the dream of the youngest villager,
the stars had somehow shaken free of their constellations,
and, in fact, turned out to form one single constellation
which was independant
and discernable all year round.