I admit. I made a mistake. I should have waited until our IT guy could get the internet back up.
I was trying to get an okay on a photo from the head of Marketing. The rest of the office was playing table tennis, batting wads of paper back and forth over their desks with their MacAirs. But I have this annoying work ethic and the deadline was approaching, whether our email was down or not.
So, I printed out a copy and walked to the Marketing head’s office. I was stopped by her gatekeeper.
“What are you doing,” she asked as if her pet dog we’re being stolen by bad children.
“I’m going to see Samantha,” I said, and, knowing that to engage in a twenty somethings interface angst was a mistake, kept walking. She spluttered and tried to lift the phone receiver as a warning but I was too fast.
“Here,” I breathed to Samantha, “Can you approve this photo for me?”
She looked at me, a little taken aback as I shoved a grainy black and white printed on copy paper towards her. She seemed to be studying me. To be honest, we hadn’t actually laid eyes on each other since a fire drill in 2012. And on that day we had only caught each other’s glance from forty feet away. I likewise surprised myself by hungrily devouring my proximity to another human and noticed her lovely cheeks and an odd standing floor lamp that splashed light over her desk.
“Have you ever done this before,” she asked innocently, like Juliet on her wedding night.
“Not since 1979,” I admitted sheepishly, “since before e-mail was invented.” She had a shapely mole on her jawline.
“Don’t let them see us,” she said.
“Too late,” I moaned, “Annette already saw me and tried stop me. Quick, can you approve the photo,” I breathed heavily.
Unaccustomed to making decisions without staring at her computer screen, she panicked. “I can’t. I can’t. Let me look at it and get back to you.”
I wanted to say, ‘but you’re looking at it now! That’s why I printed it out and defied all internet office protocol to barge into your office just to see if there were any actual humans on the other ends of these emails. I gave it to you, so you could look at it with all your college education and tell me whether animals will be harmed or wars started if we use it!’ But I didn’t. Two wrongs don’t make a right, I remembered. Instead I whimpered “Okay,” thankful that she was old enough and sensible enough not to have called security on me or sprayed me with pepper spray.
I hesitated. Thinking that maybe…one day…we might have a meeting, or perhaps run into each other on the way to the rest rooms. For now, it was over. This moment of human contact. I needed to protect myself.
I slowly backed out of her office while her gatekeeper watched an episode of Parks and Recreation, forgetting about the danger I presented. As I headed back to my office I heard the announcement over the loudspeaker system. The internet was back up. The children put down their toys and faced their screens again. Order was restored.
But my days were numbered. A week later I was called into the HR office and told that a company like this one couldn’t afford security breaches of this kind. It was bad for morale. I was asked to clean out my desk and told that Bruce would accompany me down stairs to the front door. I would never enter an office in this company again. It turned out that between episodes, Annette had reported me.
I took my pathetic box of belongings as Sean eyed me like the dangerous sociopath I was, and together we greeted the late afternoon sun. Let me say this straight off, I’m not in any way attracted to hefty Irish goons with guns on their belts. But it seemed to me the ultimate sacrifice and hope for the human race, that before I walked off into the sunset I touch his arm, and look into his heart. So I did, and said thank you. And to Bruce’s credit he didn’t go for his gun, but smiled, turned on his heel and walked back into the darkness.