Wednesday, August 31, 2016

They talked about day jobs in tones of horror

"I know it's temporary." But this is her secret: she doesn't want it to end. What she can never tell Pablo, because he disdains all things corporate, is that she likes being at Neptune Logistics more than she likes being at home. Home is a small dark apartment with an ever-growing population of dust bunnies, the hallway narrowed by Pablo's canvases propped up against the walls, an easel blocking the lower half of the living room window. Her workspace at Neptune Logistics is all clean lines and recessed lighting. She works on her never-ending project for hours at a time. In art school they talked about day jobs in tones of horror. She never would have imagined the her day job would be calmest and least cluttered part of her life.
—from Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel.

I've only ever had one workspace that was actual clean lines and recessed lighting, but several that felt at one time or another preferable to home, so I get it. But that's changed for me in recent times; most days there's no place I'd rather be than home. (Well, except maybe Venice.)

And I think I may start referring to my job as a day job, with all that implies. Life is elsewhere, but a day job finances it.

I'm not sure what made me turn to this novel this week, and I was quite prepared to hate it as an overhyped, unmeritedly trendy, pale shadow of a proper dystopia, but I'm digging it. It's got a very Atwood vibe, with the Shakespeare and the sci-fi comic, but somehow warmer, less cynical, more naive.

It's early pages yet, and this may turn out to be the great lesson of the novel, but it seems to me that the pre-apocalyptic days are in many ways sadder than what comes later. Maybe the epidemic serves as a reset. Maybe this is wishful thinking on my part.

1 comment:

Buried In Print said...

Not. Saying. Anything. Except that I felt much the same way as you, in approaching this one, and now she's on my list of MRE *MustReadEverything" authors. Hope you find something akin to that excitement as you move along.