Monday, October 25, 2021

Microstory 1741: The Clock

I hate this clock. It reminds me of the worst years of my life. When I was a child, my foster parents would time everything I did. Homework, chores, umm...well, I guess there isn’t a third thing on that list, because those were the only things I did. I suppose showering isn’t a chore, but that was timed as well. They said they were getting me ready for the real world. Apparently, in their jobs, every task they completed was measured and recorded, and that was how they got paid. I asked them a few times, did they get paid more for more complicated tasks, but they said no. The rate didn’t change at all. The point was to keep track of when they were working, and when they weren’t, such as when they were walking to the location of the next task, or using the restroom. They were expected to be at work for ten hours a day, but they only get paid for their recorded time. They were so proud of themselves. Other workers recorded an average of eight and a half hours of actual work, which meant an hour for lunch, and another half hour for the in between times. My foster parents, however, averaged nine hours and forty-five minutes. They said they organized tasks so that it was easier to switch from one to the other, they literally ran when they had to, and they...well, let’s just say they weren’t too careful when it came to their bathroom breaks. They sometimes saw that as an opportunity, because even though janitorial services weren’t technically in either of their job descriptions, they could still get paid for cleaning the facilities. The word diaper was thrown around once or twice too. They actually acted like I should aspire to be as hard-working as them one day. I never bought into it. I don’t worship the clock.

My parents are dead now. They left this world with nothing, and not just to spite me. They worked so hard in their jobs that the company didn’t want to promote them, and they didn’t want to be promoted either. A promotion would mean a salary, and more freedom than they could have handled. They hated their bosses, who didn’t work hard enough, and focused too much on their personal lives. My parents didn’t have lives of their own. They were too exhausted when they got home that they ate their dinner, read something boring, then went to bed. After I came into their lives, they had to squeeze in a lot of strict overbearing criticism, so they couldn’t read as much anymore. When they were too old to work, since they didn’t have any hobbies, they had absolutely nothing to do. You can ask the professionals what killed them, and they’ll give you a scientific answer, but I contend that they died from the realization that their lives were always pointless. The company where they worked for forty-five years closed shortly before the deaths, because they too were old-fashioned, and ultimately meaningless in a world that moved on without them. So here I am with virtually nothing. My parents were in so much debt that the bank had to repossess nearly everything they owned. Fortunately, it seems to have covered it, so I won’t have to make up the difference. They even managed to leave me with one thing: this damn clock. It represents the futility in work for work’s sake. It spins around in circles, and never goes anywhere. Yeah, I hate this clock, but I also need it. For as much as it pains me to see every day, it’s also a consistent reminder of what I don’t want to be, and how I don’t want to raise my own baby boy, who’s scheduled to make his debut in three months. It shows me that time only means anything when we use it to enjoy doing the things we love, with the people we love.

No comments :

Post a Comment