Out of Office Reply

Well it's Tuesday and here I sit, morning coffee depleted, piles of files waiting for revision, staring out my office window.

It's a position I find myself in many mornings around 10am... That middle morning breather. Frantic phone calls, rush orders, minor Monday dilemmas all corrected. Playing catch up all morning means you'll be doing the same all day today.

The phone is ringing and the boss is yappin', but it's just gonna have to wait, I just need a couple minutes. I need some time to wipe the slate clean and reset my head for the tasks ahead of me.

Some mornings, if I'm lucky, I find respite in a quick chat with my better half.

"How you feeling this morning?"

"Hope you slept well..."

It brings me back home for a few minutes. The smell of Xerox paper and hypo-allergenic office carpeting are almost unnoticeable. Ever notice how you can sit down at home and feel the tension ease but when you sit down at work the tension builds?

There is nothing like FEELING at home.

On days when I don't call home, I can almost get the same feeling from a good stare out that window.

It's the same view everyday, same trees, same decaying roadway, same manicured landscape. It sure would be nice to go for a quick walk though, wouldn't it?

I tell myself that today will be the day I go wander around under a couple of the towering oaks and savor the crunch of fallen acorns on my lunch break. Yea, that's what I tell myself, but how often have I worked through lunch only to find I barely have the time to woof down a soda and sammich in 2 bites.

With my nose to the grindstone it's hard to take note of much else but every so often I catch a glimpse of movement outside the window. Out of the corner of my eye I'll see some small pluck of leaves and twigs tumbling from the canopy. I used to wonder if the squirrels were knocking them down but after long your curiosity wains.

Dis-involvement tempers our instincts.

Maybe today's chicken club and diet coke will taste less washed out under natural light. Lord knows those fluorescent bulbs do nothing to make lunch-meat more appetizing.

I bet if I look straight up that ivy wrapped trunk I won't even notice the concrete prison around me...

Only one way to find out.

Filed under: Just Stories


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  • I tried to get inspired by work surroundings, not working very well.

    The Des Plaines River is less than a mile away. I may have to go for a longer walk, see if it has retained any of its' river qualities or if they've just turned it into a polluted ditch up this way.

  • In reply to Ken G:

    I took my MP3 player with me. Cranked up some old Red Hot Chili Peppers, looked straight up, closed my eyes and felt the sun tickle my face as the wind swept leaves filtered light onto my eyelids.

    Didn't hear traffic, didn't feel like work, and didn't realize my lunch was over 5 minutes ago.

    Felt good.

  • Mind numbing, spirit sucking existence that we live.

    Was talking to Bob Long, Jr. recently, he wanted to know if I wanted to join him and travel with the seasons, living under bridges as we traveled.

    Some days it seems like a good idea.

  • In reply to Ken G:

    I'm sure some days it must, but I'm sure at one point the political party system sounded like a good idea too.

    If our minds are numb, think of the heights your words could reach... or depths.

  • ... oh wait nevermind, your mind is numb.

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