…An office is open, but not like a prairie. It’s open like sucking space that has no oxygen. An office smells like nothing if you could bottle up nothing and sell it, maybe as an app or a b2b service. The walls taste like lead paint even though you can be sure they’re perfectly safe. The people smile but it’s fake; when I smile, it’s fake. It’s quiet in the office, underneath the sounds of keyboards tapping, executives exec-ing, and that woman from legal who laughs too damned loud. I laugh too loud, but not at the office. Not intentionally, it’s just nothing is funny about failure. Before the layoffs when there was more than one layer of buffer between you and upper management, you could spin around in your spinny chair until you felt drunk, then stumble over to the snacks and free drinks and pig out like a teenage boy. The office tastes like organic power bars in Silicon Valley. In the midwest, they taste more like free diet soda and stealing the last stale cup of coffee out of the pot without making a new one, despite the passive aggressive sign that “Cindy” put there to deter such delinquent behavior. I don’t even drink coffee, but if I did, I’d be a coffee delinquent. Some offices are gray. You were in a building that was purple. Then you moved downstairs after the first round of layoffs and that office was a pale green. Now you’re under the highway with homeless people and their tents as your neighbors, but out here who isn’t, and your office is gray, like the color is positively correlated with morale.

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