All this shuffling going on, and suddenly the barking guy is back. I remember the barking guy from a long time ago when he used to sit in my unit (“the ward”), and now the churn has popped him back up like a shell in the surf. This is the guy who spoke in short, staccato bursts, always peppering his Tourette cadence with authoritarian hand-chopping gestures. His manner to coworkers was always immaculately perfunctory, so he became an easy villain in the dramatic construct I fancied myself a player in. Of course I’m no protagonist–I’ve never been anything more than a background character in my own fantasies–but I’m certainly qualified to make such judgments about others.
My point is, some people need to be the bad guy, and they need to stay the bad guy. It’s just a part of the corporate ecosystem. Naturally, there shouldn’t be any drifting of these well-defined roles. I mention this because, after that long absence, barking guy has returned full of wisdom. Not only that, but it all seems to make a canny sense. I fight this, oh yes I do, but the pearls that dribble from his lips of late seem preternaturally lucid, and his curt tone now sounds refreshingly concise. Let me be clear: I don’t want to agree with him. When I see him I think, “Don’t say something I respect. I don’t want to stop hating you from across the room, not just yet.” I cling to my initial characterization, though it seems increasingly futile. But why? There are very few things we can really rely on in these times, but one of them is that we need to know who our pretend-enemies are.
One old saw we can rely on is that extreme circumstances call for extreme measures, and I’ve thought of two just to help mitigate this nascent ecological imbalance. The first is that I’ve made a new pretend-enemy; several, actually. It must be several, see, owing to the fact that I’ve had absolutely no dealings with these people whatsoever. I know my methodology may seem flimsy, so I avoid the issue–and them–assiduously. Second, I’ve discovered that, by exploiting a latent cognitive flaw, it’s possible for me to cultivate enmity for someone based solely on the fact that they’ve forced me to like them, which is surely a manipulation of the natural order of things that borders on assault. Well I, for one, will suffer this Jedi mind-fuckery not a moment longer.
But then barking guy approaches with his friend, and I hear him making what is undeniably an excellent point, and now I like him again, and it occurs to me that I’ve just strobed across the full gamut of emotions in about 12 seconds, all the while sitting before my screen, still as a gargoyle. Madness behind these eyes. Madness.