By Troy Headrick
It’s Friday afternoon. The clock tells me it’s 4:25 p.m. I yawn. I stretch. I stare at the ceiling for at least two minutes.
It’s the napping hour. I’d love to close my eyes, but I can’t, at least not for the next thirty plus minutes. I’m at home, yet I’m working—“remotely.” Working online means that I have a laptop, its lid open, its hard drive doing whatever hard drives do. (What sort of person, other than a computer scientist, can truly understand computers and the odd, cold lives they live?)
Earlier today, for a reason I can’t explain, my internet suddenly failed. I discovered this when I tried to check my work email and the page wouldn’t load. A feeling like panic flashed brightly inside me. I knew I had an important Zoom meeting a mere ten minutes into the future. I had to be there—faces belonging to important people would be there—yet I had no connection. The cyberspace gods seemed to be conspiring against me.
In the nick of time, I got reconnected. I made the Zoom, showed my face, said a sentence or two that likely meant nothing in the overall scheme of things. I guess my reconnecting ensured a happy ending to my meeting story. Or had it been a sad one?
It’s now 4:51. My employer owns the next nine minutes of my life. They still have a hold on me, but it’s slipping away. I can hear the jailer, keys to my cell door jangling in his hand, walking down the concrete corridor toward me. Each footfall I hear means he’s getting closer. Freedom certainly awaits.
I didn’t really have a plan when I started writing this. This didn’t worry me though, not in this instance. Making plans—laying our activities out in front of us in a chronological order of our own creation—is supposed to make us feel in control. I suppose you could say I’m mostly a planner, but I’m now old enough to understand that plans offer a very uncertain form of salvation.
It’s 5:01 and I’m done. I exhale and do something that makes little sense: I grab the TV remote control and hit the power button. I’m on a channel that advertises itself as “educational.” A tour guide in a kind of documentary is showing scenes of Ethiopia. Some of what flickers on the little screen reminds me a lot of what I used to see when I lived in Cairo, Egypt. How odd it is to be sitting in a TV room located in a house on the west side of San Antonio, Texas, while watching Ethiopians living their lives so far away. The juxtaposition is jarring.
None of this makes any sense.
On the other hand, it all seems very connected.
That’s about all the profundity I’m capable of. It’s Friday and I’m done. A bed, not far away, awaits.
Troy Headrick’s personal blog can be found here.
If you’d like to see some of Troy’s art, have a look.