Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Living through History

At the office, the mood is subdued. My co-workers gather silently around the glass table, pulling white-bread sandwiches out of brown bags.

A round of lay-offs swept through headquarters last week, a cutting wind scattering leaves before it. They worry that it will spread to the regions next.

At one point, we find ourselves lamely naming states and countries that start with "New" in a dispirited effort to talk about something. My boss wants extra credit for Nova Scotia.

I try to cheer them up a bit, to bring some hope and diversion into their routines. I chat blithely, lapsing into stories about Santa Claus that gets everyone enthusiastically reminiscing.

More serious is the possibility that my words will bring in the revenue that will spare their jobs. They welcome my presence for many reasons.

Before I leave, my friend and I are catching up.

"Such an interesting time to live through." I put a good face on it. "We'll be able to look back and say it was so historic."

"Yeah," she replied glumly. "I just hope I won't be saying, I remember History. The History of when I used to own a house and a car."

Me too.

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