It smells really good. Everything is kept very clean, and the light pours through the vast amounts of glass used in the architecture of the building. There are funky couches and little yellow ducks, or there are man sized chess pieces and slides and video games, or DJ turntables and bikes, and skateboards. It’s the top echelon of the “new” corporate world. I glimpsed it recently, and I hated it. I would stand beside my favourite plant, Stanley, and watch the floor go through it’s daily existence. It wasn’t for me. Yet everyone else seemed, for the majority, so happy, so very content, despite the obvious vacuity of their tasks. So I had to ask myself; what was the difference between us?
First difference: I am not the norm.
Years ago, in college, I sat waiting patiently for a lecturer to turn up, along with my classmates. At the very last minute, just as my sixth sense told me he was on his way, I got up and left. As I walked away, I heard one of my good friends say.. “she’s a very strange girl.” Fair comment. But it goes further back than that. I enjoy my own company, often to the exclusion of others. I had no cliques in school, my life was to get to the end of the day and go a-rambling. So does this mean I don’t like socialising? Not at all. I’m good fun. But it got me thinking.
Second difference: I don’t need to belong.
It’s not that I didn’t want to. It just didn’t happen, and that worked for me. And it has stayed with me. So… it has to be linked to a question of personal identity and belonging. Do you know who you are? Are you happy with who you are now? Were you happy ten years ago? In college? In school? I don’t think it’s a mistake that the greatest companies nurture a youthful theme within their headquarters. Come, they whisper, relive your academic days, get paid for it, and this time, you will belong. Sweet deal.
So it’s about our past then, apparently. Who we were determines who we are now, and what we’re happy with. I was quiet, smart, and misunderstood. Now, I’m an enigma wrapped in a riddle hidden in an anagram. Do your own timeline. But it’s not only about school. That has to remain only for a certain group. There are other backgrounds and pasts to overcome: poverty, culture, personal issues. But the end result is the same. You feel you belong. You feel: “I am a cog in a mechanism. Without me, the mechanism fails.”. And it’s true, to an extent.
Personally, I felt that I was supposed to feel that the little perks, the sweets, the food, the little toys left on my desk, were supposed to be enough to hide the fact that I wasn’t satisfied, or challenged in any way. I missed the wide world, the vast pot of human personality which played, from manic to dull, on the streets of my life. There were people I worked with who surprised me with their attitude, people who came from a very different life, who I still wonder if they aren’t just kidding themselves. It isn’t my place to say.
I can’t help comparing what I felt to the Borg out of Star Trek: The Next Generation. The Borg were all about the “we”. They really didn’t do “I.” They were the hive mind that acted as one. And if we’re talking about a Swiss clock, then that is what you need. If, however, we’re talking about the overall evolution of mankind, which is now, for the moment, mental and psychological, I have to ask: Is this the best course? To think within a closed system? Where challenge against the ethos meets a wall of resistance, and where the greater future is handed to you? I can only answer for myself.
What I do know is that, from the blackberries in my garden, to the crazy man in the village, to my healing black eye, to muffins and Dairy Milks and fine malt whiskeys… I belong exactly where I am.