We were never going to win this one
Welp, it was nice while it lasted. For some of us, remote work was our idea of what life should be. Maybe not for all of us, however.
Ok, yes. We do realize that for those attempting to negotiate multi-million dollar deals or circumvent complex technological fails while feeding Cheerios to the toddler and dodging hairballs from Mister Beaumont, getting back to the office may have been the better option.
To you we say have at it, Type A’s, and good luck to you.
For most of us, though, those halcyon days of working from the dining room table felt like an oasis. We loved with waking up ten minutes before being required to show up on the job. No more rush hour traffic. No more sardine-can subway commutes.
We really like working in comfortable clothes and having the option of cat naps in the afternoon (with Mister Beaumont, of course). We reveled in taking back those hours lost to commuting to and from an office job that sucked the joy out of living. Somehow, the sucky part sucked less when we could work at a pace that suited us and then close the laptop at 5 pm for dinner at 5:30 pm.
It’s also been a big plus not to have to huddle by space heaters with our coats on during the summer because the office air conditioning is set to provide maximum comfort to men in suits and ties.
Sad to say, however, that many of us if not most of us are now expected to show up at the office at least several days a week. Some unfortunates have been mandated to return to the nine-to-five every day of the week. That shouldn’t have come as a surprise. After all, it’s not as if the engine of capitalism ever recognized us as humans with needs and preferences that — if accommodated — would result in more harmony, higher productivity, and less stress.
Remember, we’re not the people anymore. Corporations are people and they have all the rights with none of the responsibilities.
We are machine parts. Interchangeable and disposable.
We may be the minions keeping the whole destructive engine running but that doesn’t mean our priorities are those of the engine. Cooking, cleaning, driving to soccer practice, tucking in with stories at bedtime, back rubs, catching fireflies on summer nights. These are not the priorities of capitalism. And the ways in which we are forced to unprioritize those priorities in order to earn enough to sleep indoors every night means squat to the entities whose priorities supersede ours.
Real estate, anyone?
Specifically in this case commercial real estate? We didn’t really think the faceless, soulless bean counters at Vornado Realty Trust or The Durst Corporation or S.L. Green were ever going to convert millions of square feet of office space in Midtown Manhattan into affordable housing, did we? Silly us.
What on earth would this country do if people stopped wanting or needing cars?! It would be a catastrophe. War can’t be the only thing driving profits in The Greatest Country in The World, dammit.
Leaving aside the pittance invested in workable public transportation, the real money in this country is heavily invested in non-renewable resources. Remember, if it’s renewable, it’s harder to corner the market and thus harder to maximize profits. Iron, steel, petroleum products, and silicon industries need every available butt to be in some form of transportation daily to keep those quarterly growth numbers rising.
Then let’s not forget the peripherals.
For every butt in an ergonomically adjusted office chair in Midtown USA, there are hundreds of other interchangeable, disposable machine parts needing the machine to keep churning so they can feed the kids. Everything from street vendors to diners and salad bars to shoe shine stands in Penn Station is completely reliant on the flow of workers into the business districts.
So, sad to say, our days of getting enough sleep and being there when the new baby took her first steps were numbered from the outset.
It was a lovely interlude and I hope we all appreciated it while we had it. And don’t think the latest variants are going to save us from being forced back to the office. What? You think this is China? So we’ve still got 300+ people dying daily of Covid. What matters is keeping the economy going, dummies.
And because of that, we will never ever be able to keep our sane, workable lives when corporate profits were on the line.
Let’s remember who really counts in this system. Not us.
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