Monday, April 03, 2006

How do characters begin?

Department meetings inspire my self-loathing in a way few things do anymore, since I tend to avoid events and places that make me feel bad. Our department is fourteen people, and the meeting consists of us going around the table discussing what is going on with our job that others should know about. Some of us go on for 10 to 20 minutes hitting all the highpoints of our fortnightly accomplishments. Others are mercifully short. I tend to keep it short, but realize that people may actually think I do little if I say little. The work litany becomes a strange genre of defensive self-aggrandizement always in danger of slipping into onanisticly subjective minutiae.
Sometimes it helps to spend meeting time watching my co-workers speak or react to others speaking, and to think about how they might be characterized. I can see how it’s possible to take any small group with intense dynamics and mold it into a little drama with heroes and villains. Who the heroes are switches out from week to week. Is the assistant who scowls at half of the comments the rest of us make simply petty and envious with no self-control or does she harbor the burden of upholding standards the rest of us have forgotten?

Lunch: Homemade chicken mole and rice. It could be a lot saucier. It needs something but still communicates the idea of what it could have been.

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