Friday, March 12, 2010

On the Road to Les Misérables

Let me be clear. I think reading Les Misérables at work ought to be not only popular, but common. At the same time I believe that everybody else knows best how to minister in the moment to their own sweet sakes. As the founder of this movement, as a movement founder, I'm not imposing haste upon its spread, its growth. You're sitting in an office, at a desk, in a room, in a corner, in a cubicle--anyway, at work--with nothing to do but fill time. This doesn't mean you're unimportant! It means that your department in a battle over money won the right to seat you there: of course you're not useful--you're not a tool, you're a trophy! Possibly you even sit there on your own behalf, there where your fortunes and merits have brought you, dropped you, in front of your screen, your files, your phone with voice mail and caller ID, your wall space and desk space ornamented with colorful objects and pictures you've selected to recall you to yourself. Quite possibly you've got a pile of work to do--but you can't face it. This doesn't make you weak or lazy! What are you, a machine? No, that's a machine, what you're staring at. You need a break.

So there you are, somehow, at work. Possibly it occurs to you that you ought to be using this time more effectively. Since you won't spend it working, and you can't leave your desk, or have a conversation, or groom yourself, or play a game (there used to be games); you stare at your screen: For heaven's sake don't shop! It's not good for you. (Since you will anyway just don't do it to excess.) But possibly you're out of money, or you've given up your on-line shopping for another cause--neither of which marks you as a freak or a loser. "Enough already" sums something up for you now, that's all. You choose content.

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