In stark contrast to last year, this glorious year, 2009, is off to a slow and drawling start (yes, I know drawling isn't a word, or at least not in that context, but lets just imagine it is for a minute or two.). So slow in fact, that the first 19 or so days of it have not quite been long enough for the newly appended digit to lose its shiny new sheen. It's quite the novelty, isn't it? Two thousand and niiiiinnnneeeee (Actually, now I really am drawling. But in the correct sense of the word. Hmm.). It has a nice ring to it, don't you think? Niiiinnneeeeeee. I was a big fan of two thousand and eight, since it just seems lovely and rounded, probably for some mathematical reason I'll never understand, but two thousand and nine is just novel. It doesn't sound like it should be a year. Niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinnneeee.
None the less, here we are, in the oddly placed linguistically speaking, yet highly amusing 2009. One day I'm sure we'll look back on it and be utterly convinced that it never existed, that it was a patch of our lives that was lived entirely in a magical pocket exclusive of time, and perhaps even physics. I'll be sure to experiment on that aspect when I get home, possibly with some kind of home made catapult, some pineapples, and Krus' shed. I'll let you know of any interesting developments. Anyhow, regardless of the space/time status of this current 'year' or whatever else it might actually be, it is indeed off to a start.
Now, while we all seem to have ascertained that 2008 was a horribly shitty year all round (except for the task of writing or pronouncing the the numbers two thousand and eight. Speaking of which, I wonder how the world would accept the lettered form of the year number on forms and the like? Hmm. Maybe a new dating format could be established. Again, in both senses of the word. Perhaps it is time for you, reader, to stop indulging my brackets now. I suspect they're making less and less sense.), 2009 seems to be showing some promise. Now I know it's only January and we're not back in full swing yet, but things are running quite smoothly thus far. Work is slowly getting back on track, social events seem to be occurring with minimal fuss, the weather has been a whole lot more typical than 2008 ever managed, and, while I wait for my normal coffee shop to reopen after a holiday, Hudsons have been serving me exceptionally average coffee - a marked improvement from their normal standard of inconsistent dirt water complete with crunchy bits. There is of course this whole Israel-being-the-worlds-biggest-fuckwits-and-shamelessly-getting-away-with-it aspect, but to be fair, that did start in 2008, that filthy trollop of a year.
Regardless, this first very quiet and relaxed 19 days or so has given me some time to reflect, and not being one for new years resolutions, this has quickly evolved into a rather abstract process. Niiiiiiinnnneeeeeeee. Now, I know what I'm about to say is rather insulting to many people, particularly those who have actually experienced what I'm about to discuss, and I'm pre-emptively going to go one step further and tell you right in advance, that the thing you really have issue with is the process. Yep, definitely. Now that that's out of the way, I'd like to take this moment to discuss my thoughts on my workplace being remarkably like a minimum security prison.
Bear with me on this one. Currently, I have very little to do in terms of workload, so I spend most of my hours on the internet reading about stuff. From now on, the 'Internet' will be referred to as 'The prison library'. I also talk to a lot of people on msn, which I suppose could be closely considered to be chatting to my homies, my homies of course being my fellow prisoners. We discuss many mundane and uninteresting things (though we do also discuss interesting things) with the sole purpose of passing time whilst enjoying some form of human company. Many of these conversations would never pass as such were we to have them outside of work hours. In fact, we would just be considered rather strange, just as one would if prison conversations were to be aired in the public realm, I imagine. Every lunchtime, I go to the gym, which I will now, in line with the library reference, refer to as 'The exercise yard'.
We are contained in fairly lax, yet overcrowded conditions, and are required to enter through various locked doors to get in and out of a floor or building. We also are required to seek permission to do things from supervisory types. Our toilets are often on the disgusting side, and we have a kitchenette which we are required to look after, lest we lose the 'privilege' of using. We also have rations in the form of tea, coffee and sugar sachets, and arguably, the 'charity snack box' which no one seems to pay for. We also have a lot of fluorescent lighting which gives quite the institutionalised air.
Of course, we do get to go home at the end of each day, but I think this is a fairly trivial matter when one is expected to return the following day at the obscene hour of nine to ten-ish. We also have a chaplain.
This year, I plan to take advantage of the prisoner education scheme, I mean, professional development scheme. This will allow me to spend some of my hours here re-educating myself so that I may be of further use to the community, er, institution... er, company. Once completed, I can apply the parole board... er, human resources department, for an early release, er pay rise.
Do you see?! Do you see how interchangeable these situations are?! I mean sure, one has a horrible social stigma attached to it, arguably some potential violence, and the nasty matter of having to deal social low lives such as magistrates, lawyers and of course the police, but these trivialities aside, I think it's fair to adapt the old Anarchist Black Cross slogan of "Jails are the real crime!" to something a little more relevant to the working class of today. I think "Workplaces are the real prisons!" is quite fetching. It could be applied quite neatly to a badge or patch format, complete with a little icon of a coffee cup, symbolising all those hours we spend trapped in caffeinated escapism. Actually, we could even get a little skull and crossbones dealy going, with the steaming coffee cup as the head, and a couple of crossed cigarettes as the crossed bones. We could be the office-prison-pioneer-buccaneers.
I don't think so.
This is the promise that 2000 and niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinneeeee offers us. A chance to start anew. Greener pastures. A pocket that time forgot, where we will wage a war against open plan offices. It may not achieve a lot, but it'll certainly make for an interesting year.
Now if you'll excuse me, I've got an appointment with my exercise yard.