Time and the Weather

I recently quit the job I've been working at since this beginning of the year. I'm not going to write anything about it directly, or about jobs, in general. It came to my attention once that I was ruled out for a possible job because the employer looked online and saw that I wrote “blogs”—and that apparently freaked them out. Though if they bothered to read the stuff I write they'd see that I don't write about jobs or people I know, and I'm not vindictive or even that angry or critical, and I certainly don't write for revenge or to hurt people. But I guess just the fact that one would publish their opinions about stuff, regardless of how few people read it, that scares some people. Or maybe just the word “blog” scares some people, though now it's widely considered to mean farting in the wind. Anyway, I'm not going to talk about where I worked, what the job was, or the people I worked with, except to say that it was for a company I respect, and with people I was quite fond of, and it was time to do something else for the sake of my mental, physical, financial, and creative well-being.

The successful part about this job—and what I'd hoped would be positive for me—was the contact with a wide variety of people and a high volume of people during a work day. And it was successful in that I came away feeling a kind of spiritual nourishment (maybe I should try church, or volunteering, huh, in the future?) that is kind of the opposite of the psychic numbing that develops day after day of sitting alone in a room isolated, which nurtures fear and paranoia. And while it worked, it also exposed me to some disturbing trends in the interaction and communication of people; this is stuff I've known about forever, but needed reminding, I guess.

First of all, it was kind of jarring to realize how much people seem to hate their jobs; either real displeasure with the job, or maybe the verbal expression of dissatisfaction, and most likely the combination of both. I realize that most people are working because they need the money they are making to get by (same here), and that looking for a job is one of the more frustrating ventures any of us go through in life. That is the reason so many people stick with jobs they “hate.” But to hear, day after day, complaints, bitterness, negativity—though nothing new or surprising to me—this time, it struck me as, “Whoa, this is not a good thing.” The part that hurts the most is when people talk about TIME, and how it is their enemy, and how they wish for it to pass as quickly as possible. Obviously, I realize that it's natural to want to get through the time you are spending doing something you don't like in order to get to the time spent doing something you do like. Still, hearing people constantly refer to hoping “time goes fast” and lamenting time that is “left” and just generally wishing for moments of existence to be gone—it bothered me more than it ever has. I believe that it's more than small-talk—that it's an indication of some really disturbing condition.

And talking about small-talk, something that began to bother me even more was the constant talk about the weather. In some ways, I love that people talk about the weather; maybe because it's an indication that we are all the same in many ways, and we are all simple beings, and we all bow down to something that we cannot control but affects us so much. The fact is, everyone (including me) talks about the weather; everyone from the world's geniuses, leaders, billionaires, dictators to the artists, elite athletes, shit-workers, butchers of human life, and saints. I suppose there is someone out there that doesn't ever talk about the weather—and they are likely to be shunned by society as “abnormal” and “insane.” I worry, sometimes, that even my weather preferential orientation (I like overcast skies and temperature in the thirties, and I love storms and snow) casts me as a weirdo, so I usually keep it to myself in order to “fit in.” But I still talk about weather. “Wow, nice day.” Who can resist? Or, blah, it's been rain for three days straight. Somewhere in the dark corners of comedy there are no doubt grim jokes about people on their way to the gas chamber complaining about the weather.

The pathetic thing about us humans is that each of us has a comfort zone that is narrower than ten degrees Fahrenheit, if you really think about it, and that's kind of scary. We can survive in a little bit larger temperature range, but one that is also tiny, relative to global scale. Even though a major accomplishment of human beings is that we have evolved our technology to the extent that we will be able to exterminate our entire population before nature gets around to it, still, the fact is that a stray asteroid or perhaps the sun meaninglessly issuing a random sun-fart will exterminate us all without ceremony. We don't worry about this because of the scale of time on a planetary level makes the brief appearance of the seven million of us on earth right now fairly insignificant. It will happen at some point, though, and whatever life form comes next won't care about or even notice our carefully preserved artifacts.

But most likely before that happens (unless we really outdo ourselves and accelerate our demise manually) everyone who ever cared about anything we care about now will be gone from all memory. As someone who turned 40 in the year 2000, I've found the time between then and now to be a blink of the eye. Yet, on my last day of work, I approached the time-clock for the last time prematurely and had to watch an entire minute click off before my final punch-out. It was an eternity. In that minute, I felt actual eternity, and in my small, practical, wisdom, I savored it. I wish I had the spiritual wisdom that I could also accept the reality that, essentially, I'm already gone. Failing all that, anyway, I think what I'll do today is be fully conscious when I approach yet another lunch, and I'm going to remember all this, and forget all this, upon first bite. And then I'm just going to enjoy my taco.