Opinion: Back To The Office!

Remington Write

We were never going to win this one

January 2021, the view from the 28th floor of the Warwick Hotel at 54th and 6th AvenuePhoto byTammy Remington

Welp, it was nice while it lasted. For some of us, remote work was our idea of what life should be. That said, yes, we're sure that for anyone attempting to negotiate multi-million dollar deals or solve complex technological fails while feeding Cheerios to the toddler and dodging hairballs from Mister Beaumont, getting back to the office may be the better option.

To you we say have at it, Type A’s, and good luck to you.

But the rest of us have gotten comfy with waking up ten minutes before showing up on the job.

We really liked working in comfortable clothes and having the option of cat naps in the afternoon (with Mister Beaumont, of course). We loved reclaiming 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.

For most of us, though, the halcyon days of working from the dining room table are now only a fond memory. But it 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 paradoxically enough result in more harmony, higher productivity, and less stress.

Remember, Punkin, 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. The inescapable fact that trying to manage enough of a career to cover the basic needs of our families while also covering the basic needs of our families (you know, cooking, cleaning, driving to soccer practice, tucking in with stories at bedtime, back rubs, the list goes on) is driving many of us around the bend doesn’t mean squat to the entities whose priorities supersede ours.

Here's a quick and dirty look at some of those entities.

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.

Transportation? 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 driver of profits in The Greatest Country in The World, dammit.

Fossil fuels and other non-renewable resources? 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, Punkin, our days of getting enough sleep and being there when l’il Punkin takes her first steps were numbered from the moment Covid deaths began to drop.

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 what if we’ve still got 800+ people dying weekly of Covid? What matters is keeping the economy going, dummies.

And because of that, we will never ever be able to have sane, workable lives. Not when corporate profits are on the line.

Let’s remember who really counts in capitalism. Not us.

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Covert dilettante with an omnivorous capacity for wonder. Writing because I can't not write. Always watching for the hidden patterns and connections. I don't know I cannot fly..........and so I do.

New York City, NY

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