No Bowling Alleys or Prostitutes in This One

8:07 PM Wednesday, November 17, 1999

I thought of a million fuckin things to write about today. Somehow, in the time it took for my computer to un-suspend they all went away. Can you believe I've never read "Catcher in the Rye"? I mean, given how I write and everything? Like a goddamn 16 year old I tell ya! Well, I'm reading it now. I bought it, a Vonnegut, a Rushdie and a CD ROM that teaches you Hindi yesterday at the bookstore. We'll see if I can read all this crap I usually can't make it through a book.

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You know, I never told you about the time Brian and I played paparazzi and shot a bunch of pictures of these "hot models" for Elle. I just saw the layout for the photos. I was kinda disappointed but I'll scan it and put it on the web so I can prove that I got really close to some sweaty, stoned models and popped flashguns in their faces. That was at Fire and Ice, THE hottest club in town. You'll find me at ALL the hottest places in town. I was just telling my friend Swati last night as I watched some snooty bitches walk into the place we were eating that there are a lot fewer layers of society separating me from those uppercrusties here in India than in the US. We naturally segregate ourselves at home. Now I find myself in nervous proximity to genuine "upper class" type people. In the US, they don't want my un-perfumed ass anywhere near them and I'd love to see them break a heel. Here? I'm probably having dinner with them next week. What do I know? I guess the point is that I really shouldn't be that hard on them. I don't seem to mind hanging out with beautiful, pampered, vacuous, Asia-trash while I'm here so why should I be so militant when I'm at home? Not that ANY of my friends here are any of the things I just said. I'm talking about strangers. Always talking about Strangers.

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One thing my friends are is overworked. I thought only those stupid geeks in the computer industry worked 12 hour days. These people do it 6 days a week. Something needs to be done. What is Bombay? A polluted wasteland that merely houses you and transports you to work (with it's filtered, conditioned air)? The place and the people in it are getting chewed up and spit out so that India can catch up with the west. I was thinking, "I want my symbol! How do I get a perfect picture of a choking cloud shooting out of the back of a taxi into your face." You can't take a picture of that! Just like you can't take a picture of the fact that if you took the pollution out of the air the city would collapse. Pollution is the black oil that lubricates the engine of commerce. People are the fuel. This City Must Pollute. Everybody has these "pollution control" stickers on their cars. Even my taxi did today. What a load of shit. Putting that taxi into *true* compliance would surely remove it and it's driver from the road. The margins in the taxi biz are just too slim. No taxi, no Bombay. See how that works? Oh, and how about no untreated water pouring into the bay? That's one constipated city. Or how about no non-biodegradable plastic bags being burned in the street? Might as well pull the bags over our heads and suffocate the place. The point I'm making is that the same inexorable drive to pollute (the sick feeling that we're being forced against our will) is what pushes people to work insane hours.

They'll say that their boss is making them or that they need to make more money or score points or that they feel bad because they fucked up or some other immediate excuse to cover up why they won't be home till 10:30 tonight. But this stuff doesn't happen unless there is systematically applied force on the workers. I sound like a goddamn communist but I'm speaking from experience coming right from the heart of capitalism. The current darling of all the world's economies: Silicon Valley. In order for the excuses to start flowing easily, there needs to be a broad, cultural shift that tilts the balance so that work gets favored over "non-work". It's peer pressure, and it's subtle and forgotten like gravity.

The idea doesn't have to come from your manager for it to enslave you. I watched myself and those around me put on the "work is life" corporate t-shirt and with little goading, other than that hint that "giving everything to your job shows no known side effect, except getting you filthy rich", completely surrender. What harm could it do? Your job is a good place with people that care about you and where you learn and are rewarded for your efforts. Well, I say fine. Lucky you. OK, maybe the guy next to you really does "live to work" and it's his dream to sell fractional T-1's. But does that mean you have to pull insane shifts just because you work with him? Hell yes it does. When I realized that I wasn't "choosing" to work late, I was working late unless I "chose" to go home early, I became aware of the gravitational pull. Mind you, this was when my car was regularly the last one in the parking lot. I thought I was there for selfish reasons but I had merely internalized corp-think and was their most efficient machine. Well, you know how realizations go. I got the fuck outta dodge.

I won't go on any longer. Ebonotron said it better than me in his manifesto and I don't think you guys are reading this crap to get reminded of work. I also don't think that people who work are stupid. I think it is noble and righteous and necessary, and fun and a good distraction and a bunch of other stuff. The people who I've worked with that are good workers have given me great joy.

Today I ate at McDonalds again and applied for a job at Microsoft.

Your Number One Corporate Whore,

davep


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