02 December, 2005

Twilight time

I had to work late tonight.

I know it must seem like an offensively trivial thing to most people, and I know everybody's been lumbered with it at some point in their lives, but I have to say that when you're stuck in the middle of it, trapped, unsure how long you're going to have to stay, hungry, desperate to get away, equally desperate at the predicament which caused you to stay late in the first place, it's one of the worst undertakings in the world.

Why did it have to happen on a Friday of all days? It's common sense to instinctively start winding down for the weekend mid-afternoon, and by 5pm to have all but packed up. But no, not this time. Some fucking stupid deadline had to be met, but it was a complete waste of time because the people to whom the work in question had to be delivered had - quite sensibly - pissed off at 5.30pm. It was purely down to the fact that an agreement had to be honoured, circumstances beyond anybody's control had prevented the work being completed earlier, and hence no-one could go home.

It'd be a different matter if I liked working where I do, and hadn't spent the best part of the last two years trying to leave. I think I must have applied for almost 100 jobs in the last 20 months or so. Most of the time I can rationalize my failure to get out and into a new job, but not on days like today, when I'm so trapped I can't even get away and escape back home on my own terms.

Of course the boss wasn't even in to witness it all, merely barking orders down the phone. I've had to work late before, and there have been times when camaraderie has helped ease the pain. There was none of that to be found today. Rarely has the office been suffused in such a smog of gloom.

When I finally got out, the walk back home in the pouring rain in the pitch dark was one of the nicest feelings. But it was a transient one, because it wasn't an act of properly getting away. I have to return, yet again, as ever, on Monday morning. No matter how many times I make the escape, I'm on a piece of elastic, forever drawn back to that bastard place, both physically and mentally.

It can't go on. The time's fast approaching when I'm going to have to cut that elastic regardless of where I'll fetch up.

Isn't there a point in the calendar particularly conducive to the making of such, well, resolutions?


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