Sunday, September 23, 2012

Idea Garage Sale: World in a Building

Speaking of journals, here's what I find at the end of a rambling diatribe about how much I hated working at...a certain soul-sucking day job... what a huge waste of my time it was even existing there, and how they should have color-coded departments instead of making everything gray:

Is there a story about these cubicles? When I temped at [redacted], I had a little black fantasy about a society trapped there forever filing, keypunching, stuffing envelopes, totaling figures - never seeing the light of day. The great culture hero - a Tyll Eugenspiegel - was Wheelchair Annie, a woman who set the executive hierarchy on its ear and whipped around the building making life bearable. I would have to work out the background of such a world to make it plausible enough for anyone to take the story. It would be about getting out, of course - about the necessary mediocrity of the soul in the workplace - about a lack of windows.

There's something very mid-twentieth century about this idea; yet we are in fact getting to a place where making a small town in one huge building that no one ever left except through internet avatars could conceivably be made practical. It could even be some people's ideal life to live in a company town based on this plan - housing, daycare, elder care, health coverage, unlimited WiFi, all levels of educational facilities, gym - as long as you could keep the job, and strive for promotion to ever-more-privileged access to amenities, you wouldn't even need to be paid in money as we know it.

Until you were found wanting, or laid off due to economic changes Out There, of course.

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