Six months ago today I called in sick to work. I had been trying to focus all day the day before, and I had been failing more miserably than I can tell. The plan was to go over to a friend’s for dinner, and we all got in touch with each other and agreed that it was probably a good idea to cancel.
And that was Friday (the 13th, hah), and the weekend was weird and tense, and by the time Monday rolled around lockdown was in full effect. There was still snow on the ground.
And really, I don’t quite feel like summer happened (a very common sentiment, from what I hear), and now we’re sliding down into fall again. I love fall, but I wish I could have a chance to enjoy it without all the worry.
I am playing Wasteland 3, as one does, and I just really want to say I appreciate the richly textured setting and all the opportunities you have for terrible, terrible decisions.
Want to have your armory run by the local crime cartel? Want to then upset that local cartel by shooting one of the lieutenants? You can do that! (In my defense, I mean, the lieutenant wanted me to pick on the movie monsters. There are limits, I tell you.)
Want to invite a fourth-generation clone of the great scientific villain who tried to wipe out humanity and invite him to work in your medical lab? Also possible! It’s probably okay, he says the genocidal impulses were nurture rather than nature, and he’s a scientist! He would know.
Want to help the robot figure out how to defend other robots by removing his empathy for humanity? You can do that too! I am sure this will have no negative consequences down the line whatsoever. >beams<
I’m having fun, all told. Now, having mortally offended the religious order of the wives of Reagan, I just need to go pick which character gets to use the self-inserting spinal implant from the robot doctor whose assistant we convinced to run away to freedom.
I got to go in to the office yesterday. (I say “got to” because when I found out about it, my reaction was similar to the reaction of the dog if you ask her if she wants to go for a walk. I like where I work.)
So I went in and said hello to reception from a safe distance and through the plexiglas shield, and then went up to the fourth floor where I was the only person, and turned on the lights, and filed stuff and restarted my computer and packed up some things from my hutch that didn’t come home in the first emergency wave. And I left after 45 minutes.
(The sign-in sheet said that there was one other person in the building, but they were on the second floor so I didn’t see them.)
I have missed work. I like everyone there, and I love being part of what we do. I’m working from home, so I’m still doing something, but I really miss seeing people and saying hello and listening to conversations in the kitchen while I knit and… just people.
I called in sick on Friday the 13th, so my desk was very “this is the middle of the work-week”. The calendar pages for March and April (because of course I put current-month and next-month there for tracking at a glance) were still taped up to my hutch.
It was very much a reminder of what-was-normal-before that I wasn’t expecting, and it’s left me a bit melancholy.
My story “The Draw of Empty Spaces” is out now in issue 3 of Cossmass Infinities, which you can get here (although if you subscribe it should already be in your inbox, which is very nice). It is a story of someone doing salvage work in a ruined city, alone and then not alone.
This is my second time appearing in the magazine and I am honestly very pleased to be there again, and to be in the company of those other stories. I hope you enjoy them all.