~ journal ~

IBM Diary

What to say about today, the blue sky, the green grass, the light in the break room where I sat just minutes ago reading a book. Hm. I just want to write and see what comes out. Since duty does not call, and I do not know where Pete and Judy and Sandy have gone. Maybe they were just bored and went somewhere to have coffee and gaze absently at old manuals. Let’s see if I can find Pete at the Inspex machine... All I found was a new and artistic stack of FM wafer containers, covering a whole wall. Reminds me of an especially featureless Andy Warhol painting. No Pete. Bruce, the large man with the booming voice who works in the next room, put forth the hypothesis that everyone went to lunch early because there is nothing to do here. That would be VERY early, because the cafeteria doesn’t even open until 11:00. It’s now 10:50. But they probably brought lunches.
There is still no work here. But now it is nearly twelve. I have a hunch that my lunch break will be long enough to make the manager bug-eyed if she ever learns of it. Of course, that’s not likely, especially since she’s not here today and most everyone else seems to have scarpered off already. Judy is still here. I can’t imagine Judy EVER telling tales on anyone.
Just came back from lunch. Feeling grumpy. The thunderclouds of a headache are gathering in the distance. Five more hours before I can go home for the weekend. Jack Jurgens is here now. He keeps looking up at the screen of that Tencor, then peering down at his notebook and scribbling there. I wonder what mischief he is doing and how long it will take us to fix it. Dratted engineers.
One sequence of notes from a Verlaines song keeps passing through my head. It enters through the top of my skull, then dribbles out my mouth. Once in a while it’s even on pitch. This must mean that I am entering the non-verbal, mid-afternoon droning time. Maybe I ought to take a nap. I’ve discovered a wonderful way to catch z’s by leaning against the wire rack at the back of the aisle. Just wheel over there in the chair, rest your head against the wall and one elbow on a shelf and zap! you’re out like a light. And since the rack is between you and the main aisle, it’s nearly impossible for passers-by to see that you are snoozing.
Someone just came by, saw Jack Jurgens, and immediately asked accusingly, "Alright, Jack, what did you do to that 500 tool?"
There was a guy up on Saxon Hill whose last name was Schoonejongen. It was too long to fit on his badge. So the badge read Schoonejonge. The woman who trained me at Saxon Hill was named Alice, and she must have found George’s last name interesting, because she always said it when she referred to him, even though there was nobody else named George around:

"I have to talk to George Schoonejongen about these new programs, because he came around and screwed them up again the other day."

"All these manuals are out of date. As soon as a new one comes out, George Schoonejongen comes around again and you’re back to square one."

You see, George Schoonejongen, like Jack Jurgens, is an engineer. I have no fondness for engineers, but my real pet peeve is managers who don’t know anything about how things are on the line. Judy told me today that some guy down in P1 Dep got fired when someone caught him playing a computer game. If managers knew how boring it got, they’d cut people a little more slack. At least with a computer game you’re keeping your mind alive and not turning into a vegetable.
Now I’m back from break, and still grumpy and what is more, impatient to get out of here. It’s a beautiful day outside, the sun free of clouds for the first time all week, and we’re stuck in this sucking factory. With no work to do! And, I must admit that despite my efforts to feel natural around people, this girl Heather makes me feel weird. She introduced herself last night, and that was fine, but during this last break she started going on and on about how she’s practically engaged to this guy named Dennis, but is still attracted to her forty-year-old co-worker. Her voice was echoing around the room as she told me how she doesn’t want to get married to a guy who isn’t a virgin because she’s a virgin too, and she doesn’t want to get AIDS or any other diseases, having enough to worry about already. Meanwhile, I was thinking, strange, why is she telling me all this? Is that woman in the corner looking this way because she’s staring into space or is she also trying to figure out why this girl is telling me this?
But then I grabbed a newspaper during one of her brief moments of silence and she went off to the bathroom.
And now I’m back on the line with two hours to go. The computer says that there is a lot I’m supposed to be testing, but nobody has brought it to me yet. I went looking for it, but lacked the energy to conduct a search further than twenty yards from my station. Bruce, the large man from the room next door, has gone in the shifting of the guard, and in his place is Arlene, a fifty-ish, slightly distracted woman whom I ask for advice once in a while. She helped me look for the lot briefly, but soon gave up, saying someone would bring it to me eventually. Arlene has a limp today. Can’t remember if she had it yesterday as well.
I never said what day this is. It’s April 19. Tomorrow will be Earth Day, which all the papers are predicting won’t be 90% hoopla like last year. Thank god! I had to be skeptical of the event’s integrity when people were getting together in huge crowds and hobnobbing about how recycling is sooo hep, then leaving piles of trash in their wake. I hope this year things will be a little more serious, that the ideas will really start flowing. Could be a good year for communes, don’t you think?
I’ve come to a conclusion about how to keep your writing fresh. Just spew forth so much that you simply can’t remember what your own style is.

home | authors | music | movies | bloomsbury | gallery
blog | fiction | journal | criticism | career | about