Yesterday, the bigwigs at work gathered us all together for an impromptu meeting. By "impromptu," I mean that none of us in the general populace were notified prior to the happening. The manager and supervisors holding the meeting seemed to have rehearsed it a couple times already.
The main thrust of the meeting was apparently to remind us that "we must not take our jobs for granted" in today's economy. The higher-ups were including themselves in that "we," yet they shifted to second person as they stressed again and again that "you never know what could happen." The words "volatile" and "situation" were repeated multiple times, with nothing more concrete offered.
The manager closed by pointing out that the company has been through worse. "Just ask Steve (one of our supervisors) about the '80s," she said, through her brutally humorless Chinese accent. "Even he was laid off." Nobody did ask Steve about the '80s, however, and he just stood there smiling uncomfortably.
I wasn't sure what such a vaguely ominous address to everybody in the building was meant to accomplish, besides inciting the muted panic that ensued once we were sent back to work.
Today, for some unspecified reason, we were all treated to free cake and ice cream. I especially enjoyed the ice cream-filled cupcakes, ice cream cake being ever one of life's highlights, which I never take for granted. Was it so excellent that I would trade my income for another? No, of course not. Don't be absurd.
Let me be clear that "dessert day" is not a weekly, monthly, or even annual tradition. Yet not one of the proletarians who was so rattled the day before seemed to draw any connection between that event and today's unannounced celebration of nothing in particular. Perhaps the truth was too awful to admit. Or perhaps they had already made peace with their fates and were trying just to enjoy the moment.
About fifteen minutes into my hour-long commute home, I heard my cellphone ring. So this was how they were handling it, I thought to myself. Give us one last, happy memory to go out on, then dismiss us impersonally over the phone. Well-played. Bastards.
I couldn't answer while driving, but, as it turned out, I didn't recognize the number or even the area code. Whoever had called didn't feel it worth leaving a message.
False alarm, I suppose. Hopefully, when I get into work tomorrow, there will still be some ice cream left over.