As I navigate the familiar route, I almost drive off the road when I see a building that I’ve never noticed before, waving to me from the side of the road. It wants me to notice, as if I’m not going to notice. Office buildings, especially ten-story monstrosities, do not just pop up overnight, do they? Even these days, where anything is possible, this couldn’t be happening. But there it was: people, who had presumably been up and at ‘em since before the sun came up, streaming in from the five story parking garage, putting in their time before they’ll enjoy a well-earned rest: dinner, maybe a cocktail or two and several hours of somnambulant sit-coms before the nightly newscasters lulled them to sleep.
Sleep. Somehow while I’d been asleep, the splendid imprimatur of industry had struck again. Overnight, a miracle of the modern age had occurred: clandestine plans had been approved, blueprints implemented, construction commenced. Trees had been felled, brick and mortar meticulously amassed, offers had been made, salaries negotiated, moving vans hired, new houses occupied, paychecks deposited, kids sent to imprudently priced daycare, new dentists and family doctors consulted, second children conceived, extramarital affairs instigated, divorce papers served, summer softball leagues formed, cutbacks announced, departments laid off, stock options doled out and quickly cashed, inestimable hours and dollars spent on alcohol, cigarettes, dangerous as well as non-addictive drugs, pornography—always the pornography—and unused health club memberships.
Industry and big money are all about initiative; they don’t sleep until the job is done. And the job, of course, is never done.
*Excerpt from the novel Not To Mention a Nice Life, available now.