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...over-educated and under-experienced, or so they say...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Picasso The Cubiclist

What if Picasso were 36 years old and working in a cubicle on January 13, 2011? And what if he had spent the last two years working on one specific presentation that he had to adjust repeatedly to suit someone else's mood? And what if after two years that someone else decided his work was done and he felt success and relief because that particular project was truly driving him up the wall? And what if that someone decided it was time for others to view the project? And what if those others decided to "improve" on what he had created? And what if they systematically started to destroy it? And what if Picasso's colleague that served as a great support in the past two years of the project walked into his cubicle that morning and said, "Dude! They're ripping this thing to shreds! Can you please explain to me why you have nothing to do with this right now?" And what if there was nothing Picasso could do? What would he do? How would he respond? Oh for the chance to find some wacky new agie and hold a seance and call him up from the other world and ask him, because I'd love to know.

Perhaps he would smile and say, "That project was about to make me vomit anyway." Perhaps he would do his best not to give a shit. Perhaps he would sit there and try to focus on the task at hand while fighting back the urge to drop stink bombs on everyone. And then perhaps he would stop and look up from his work and notice the solar powered plastic flower thingy that's bobbing back and forth beneath the florescent lights on his desk and he'd start thinking about how that's supposed to represent the power of the sun making things grow. And then he'd think about how it isn't the sun that's making that stupid thing bob around, but a man made light. And then he'd think about how it's not even a real flower,just some stupid man made piece of plastic thing with some man made internal workings that respond to the man made light. And then he'd sit there and think about his own body and how nice the sun would feel on it right about now but how, much like this plastic thing, he's bobbing around in the cubicle by the power of the florescent lights. And then he'd make some cynical remark to himself in his head and return to the task at hand.

And then perhaps he'd start listening to the voices around him. And perhaps they'd start driving him a little crazy because his ego is bruised and he's in no mood to listen to Mr. Toenail's personal phone calls from the cubicle next to him. And perhaps he realizes he's about to blow an unnecessary gasket and closes his eyes and counts to ten. And like magic he opens his eyes and realizes he hasn't touched his keyboard in ten minutes and the office communicator indicates that he's away when he's really sitting right there working, but before he can reach across the desk to the keyboard, the aquarium screen saver comes on and he's suddenly immersed in a sense of man made peace. He changes the cursor to the fish food bag and feeds his pretend fish and sits back and watches the air bubbles that make no sound and watches the computer generated fish ignore the computer generated fish food.

And then perhaps he realizes he should eat, so he pulls out his garden salad, chock full of spinach and fabulous veggies to feed his immune system in an attempt to combat all the pathogens that linger around this place. And perhaps as he eats his salad he reminds himself that average people take an hour for lunch instead of work through the chewing,
and so he puts up a DO NOT DISTURB sign and decides to pop the iPod into his ears to drown out the sound of the office and do his best to forget where he is right now. And then perhaps he feels a strange bit of relief as the music tickles his ears. Perhaps he starts feeling a sense of relief in the melodic creativity of others and he starts remembering, as he hears songs that most people don't know, what it really means to be creative -- it isn't the acceptance of the majority that makes it beautiful, it's the act of creating itself and the beauty it brings to the creator.

And perhaps he finishes his salad and realizes he still has forty minutes to kill before he must resume the task at hand. And perhaps he sits there staring at nothing while the music plays. And perhaps he starts thinking about that stupid project, and perhaps he starts feeling ripped apart in some stupid meaningless bruised egotistical way. And perhaps just as he realizes that, a random song that came from the iPod's "Genius Mix" strikes a nerve and he starts to write down the lyrics:

I want to forget how convention fits,
but can I get out from under it?
Can I cut it out of me?
It can't all be wedding cake.
It can't all be boiled away.
I try but I can't let go of it.
...can't let go of it. No...

Cuz you don't talk to the water boy.
And there's so much you could learn but you don't want to know.

And perhaps then he laughs at the timing and contemplates getting out from under convention and "getting free from the middle man" and starts to feel the fire of creativity in that small space that confines him. Perhaps he starts thinking about all of the stupid objects in front of him and all of the emotions tied up behind them and he picks up the Sharpie on the edge of the desk and he draws a little something something in the last twenty minutes of his lunch. And perhaps he looks at his stupid drawing and smiles and says, "It isn't exactly art right now, but it's at least something I can take home and work on when no one else is looking." And perhaps he shakes the rest of the dirt off, because lunch is over and there is still a task at hand.

(song lyrics taken from Spoon, "The Underdog," from the Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga album.)

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