37. Talking a lot without saying anything

Blablablablabla… Bureaucracy… Blablabla… Creating work… Blablabla… Fighting symptoms… Blablabla… Wishful thinking… Blablabla… Political correctness… Blablabla… I overheard some parts of the distant meeting. Everyone sounded more dull and hollow as it went on. I really tried my best to participate, yet I was already a goner for some time. I restrained the yawning as I stared outside. Suddenly the outside world transformed into a captivating daydream. I silently sucked me in. All my attention was at this almighty journey through the multiverse. All sense of place and time faded. Everything passed by in lightning speed: landmasses, climate phases, life forms, galaxies, technological progress, hundreds of generations. The rich diversity and eternal change were crystal clear. What a natural masterpiece, what a delight. I couldn’t get enough of the great mystery of the Cosmos. More. I want more! Lucy, please, give me more universal truths.

“…. So, Ben, what do you think about this plan?”

Dead silence. Err… Oh… The question brought me back into the dreary meeting room. Bloody hell. My sober trip was in ruins. And my professional appearance would be next if I made the wrong move. Come on, act. Missing most of the predictable script was no reason to panic. Simply leave it to the autopilot. Without a trace of doubt, I picked up a few clues. Instantly I pulled out jargon, expertise and real-life examples from the top hat. My colleagues watched the magic and nodded in approval. After a few follow-up questions, my neighbor started his little show. I sat there and looked at it with a smile on my face. Ha. If only they could see what I just saw. Then this tear-jerking nonsense would be a lot more interesting. I restrained another yawn. Resting my head on the table was tempting. I gave it a miss in the end. Hang on. Just a little while longer and the legs could be stretched. From one cubicle to another that is, but still, better something than nothing. Payday had just begun, and I was already shattered. 

Four meetings later and lunch break was about to commence. I looked forward to getting some fresh air, walk around and eat a sandwich. Too bad it wasn’t supposed to be like this. The higher ranks gave me an emergency case to chew on. Please supply the beta-male. Now. The grateful task to justify that’s wrong – as usual – was left to me. I did so with a sense of duty, then I went straight to the next consultation. I sat down with a growling stomach. Chronic meeting fatigue struck hard halfway through the ride. Mouths moved relentlessly, yet I only heard a loud ringing in my ears. My head could no longer cope with the enormous flow of non-information. Translating waffling, wordy, evasive and other meaningless language wasn’t possible anymore. No coffee, sugary bite or stimulant could resolve it. All hope vanished. What remained were agonizingly slow torture and a sense of guilt. Listen carefully and think, you get paid to do so. Provide an idea, product, solution, contribution. Something. Do something with precious time. Well, I could only think of wild fantasies and memories. Shooting a massive load, basically. That would be the only way to endure this boring chatter. Wanking while making money can do. Surely I’m not the first to do so, I thought. Still, I stayed put for good will. Be obedient and face the boredom. Don’t numb mental pain and don’t walk away from it.

I had half an hour on my own after all the empty words. Finally some time for an important project. Unfortunately, I ran into a wall of bureaucracy. I called a colleague with frustration. He sighed at the other side of the hotline. I turned out to be the fifth person (in four years) to lay an egg over this. He pointed out that my predecessors faced the same problems. So I hung up. After these encouraging words, I walked to another department. Oh, a new face. Hopefully he has some good advice. He asked if my position was permanent or temporary. “Everything is temporary”, I answered. He walked off without saying anything. His colleagues looked at me in silence as I watched him go. Well… whatever. I walked back to my desk for lack of better. Then a notorious client called me. He insisted on his desired outcome. I listened to the chronically dissatisfied control-freak as I fought the fatigue. This me-me-me franchise called me names. That didn’t hinder me from speaking to him in a civilized manner. After that I clocked out and shut the door.

I jumped on my folding bike and raced away. My head was packed with senseless side-affairs. It was hijacked and squeezed out by meaningless nonsense that doesn’t make you any wiser. No matter how hard I pedaled, the flat battery didn’t charge. I crashed down on my bed once I got home. As directed livestock, I had devoured the marked plain. I was allowed to take a break. Then I would move on to the next farm. I looked outside once again. The green grass on the other side left me indifferent. What I longed for was pure wilderness. I no longer felt like dragging a burden as a water bearer. A tame existence offers no inspiration, growth, creativity or satisfaction. It provides absolutely nothing essential. The end of the familiar road was nearing, and I already left it all behind in my mind. I imagined waving goodbye to those tamed office animals with a dropped mask of normality. Speaking is silver, silence is golden. Just do what needs to be done. Open the taps and tip out the filled buckets. Awaken the fire and stop the mindless regurgitation of what’s already digested. 

Talking a lot without saying anything is a popular sport that I give a miss, just for the sake of sanity.

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