Friday, March 12, 2004

Solitary Confinement

click to see ASCII hunkMy cubicle is nested in the center of the floor, farthest away from the windows. The light in the office is slightly tinged with blue, as if filtered through plastic terrarium walls. There is a faint smell of disinfectant. My fellow consultants are hunched over their computers, spinning the wheels of industry. On this floor, there is no one playing solitaire, no one surfing the Internet.

For consultants like me, Internet access is restricted, strictly for business. To underline this, each time you open your browser, you have to key in your user ID and password, as if to remind you of this restriction. Regular employees have full access. I guess it is fair. For IT consultants, who charge a butt-load an hour for their services, the client wants to make sure that they are getting the most out of their money. It doesn’t make me happy though.

I feel like I am in solitary confinement. I don’t know what’s going on in the world. The stock market could be up or down, a hurricane could be in sight, somebody could have discovered whether that is a hair piece or a comb-over on Donald Trump’s head. Without Instant Messaging, I actually have to call somebody and talk on the phone. I won’t be able to hide behind a :-) anymore. Without smilies, people will hear the impatience, the contempt in my voice. The only time I can look for a job is after work. But after the long drive, making dinner and the after-dinner blowjob, I have no energy left to browse CareerBuilder.

I don’t remember how it was before the Internet. A little over ten years ago when I entered the workforce, we barely had e-mail. We got excited over ASCII porn. Even spam was exciting. Yes, spam! We were hungry for it. Send me more jokes, Reader’s Digest anecdotes, bible verses! Ah, the good ol' days.

I am writing this at work in a Word document and e-mailing it to myself. This assignment is honing my skills of goofing off. The Internet has made me complacent. But I will prevail.

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