This past weekend, a man who worked at my current job (before I was hired) passed away. I never met him, but I spoke to him on the phone a few times because he ended up working for an outfit we contract with.
I’m not necessarily sad, but I am saddened. I’m not trying to be one of those barnacle-people who latch onto tragedy and claim it as their own – Oh! Oh! We were so close! I have so many memories! I’m so sad! Look how sad I am about it! See? See?! – because it’s selfish and ugly and more importantly: I hate those people. That said, though, the things I’m feeling about his death are pretty selfish: reflecting on how I will never hear his voice again, never get the chance to meet him, that sort of thing.
* * * * *
I’ve never counted the number of times I dial or answer my phone in an 8+ hr shift, but I’m sure it’s somewhere between “a whole bunch” and “a fuck ton.” And though I try to be pleasant I don’t always give a lot of thought to the exchange. In fact, sometimes I’ll dial out and the person who answers says something like “Hi, Miss Julie, how are you today?” and I’m taken aback because I was in robot-dial-out mode and the thought that I was just about to have a conversation with another human being somehow didn’t even cross my mind.
And that sounds unbelievable, right? Like, what was I expecting?
The answer is nothing; I was not planning on giving anything, so I did not expect anything in return.
Sometimes my tunnel vision is such that I completely lose sight of what I’m even fucking doing. Isn’t that disgusting? Every single time I pick up that phone and dial out it’s my shot to connect. With a person. Like me. Because I’m a person. Speaking with another person. This banal concept is lost on me as I become more overwhelmed or frustrated. And what a shame, really. Because that simple, human, connection is all I need to snap back to reality.
I lose sight of that, and it saddens me when I think of what I’m potentially missing.
* * * * *
I’m not going to say I knew him AT ALL. To me, he was just a voice on the other end of the line… but a friendly voice. A nice voice. One of the “how are you doing today?” voices. And that friendly, nice voice was attached to what I’m told was a friendly, nice person. So, yeah, I’m saddened. And my heart breaks for his family and loved ones and for folks who knew him far better – like many of my coworkers.
Rest in peace, sir.