Guilty Pleasures

Just what is it about the old nine-to-five that makes my brain all mushy? It’s like my imagination is suffering from depression. Seriously, this post is the first thing I’ve written in two months.

Take a guess at how long I’ve been gainfully employed.

It’s not that I don’t have plenty of creative fodder here (that’s right; I’m writing this at work). My Boss is a used car salesman who bullied himself into a comfy position in life years ago, and my Office Partner is your run-of-the-mill, disgruntled, divorced, former millionaire car dealer.

They are exactly what you’re thinking right now. Don’t feel bad.

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The Boss never, ever graces us with his presence after 12 pm (and rarely before, either). My OP? He’s always at the office. ALWAYS. If he’s out, I’m probably with him, having been guilted into accompanying him on some personal errand.

Our office has two rooms, no hot water and the tackiest blue floor tiles in existence.  Our battered, laminate desks peek at each other from around a cornflower blue half-wall.  This wall would provide a modicum of privacy, except OP shifted his desk so that he could see me from his chair. He is a witness to every move I make. No private phone calls. No snacks consumed without prying eyes.  No smiles directed toward social media posts without a questioning glance.

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As much as I adore being on display, that joy cannot compare to my elation when OP starts one of his “fishing” stories. “Fish” is code for the women he meets online. At the tale’s end, I’m cornered into providing feedback on the conquest. Disgust and distaste, I say! (Oh, who am I kidding…? I enjoy his wildly inappropriate stories. They’ve given me an endless bank of “skanky bitch” traits. Yep, next to these broads, my shit is alphabetized and color-coded.)

Then, as though Fate read my mind and said, “Wound, allow me introduce you to my friend Salt,” I have read three -THREE! -articles that popped onto my Facebook feed about boredom and sleepiness and mind-numbing-ness, and how those things actually engage creativity. The words stung and left me confused. Doubtful. Overly analytical. Y’know, beyond my normal amount… like, way, WAY too much analysis.

Something must be wrong with me, I thought.

But another thought occurred in spite of my self-loathing. If those articles are true, I am going to break open the entertainment industry and become the best-selling author ever, from now until the laboratory – bred dinosaurs reclaim the home we destroyed. I have the recipe, and all the ingredients are right here in my Blue Ghetto Hell, where I spend 40 hours a week. Wait, how much time could I devote to this process of inevitable superstardom? I only do, maybe, five solid hours of work per week, so that leaves 35 paid hours to write! This is unbelievable!

In all seriousness, I couldn’t have asked for a weirder group of associates, and I have so much free time. Really, how can I fail? I’ve got to figure out a way to channel some energy into writing while I’m here, but I think I refrain from writing because I feel like a terrible employee. In my mind, company time equals company work. And while that’s not wrong, I can’t be expected to sit drooling, wishing for death when I have nothing to do. I mean, I don’t feel bad for browsing the Internet. I guess it’s all about the degree of engagement, and working on my novel takes a big chunk of that.

Be honest: should I feel guilty for writing at work when I have nothing work-related to do?

– sld

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