Rebirth: Chapter iv - Buzz Words by Roy Neyman

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He groaned to himself. Was it really only 2:30? The overcast made it look like at least five and it felt later than that. Typical day, though. Anderson had taken to lingering in his car in the parking lot in front of the office, National Public Radio's Morning Edition distracting him from his reluctance to go in. He'd linger while he slurped the double latte purchased from the cute girl in the drive-thru, but made it a rule that, once it was finished, he wrest himself out of his Volvo's heated seat and start the day in earnest. That was usually sometime between 6:45 and 7:00am.

Once inside, he'd nod good mornings to the few people who had arrived before him, exchange artificially cheerful pleasantries with those who had personalities that were outgoing enough to generate them at this time of day. Computer on. Boot up. Log in. Here's the part he'd really come to dread, ...start up Outlook. His primary client was on the east coast and had had a good three hours or so to generate work for him. Today had been no different and he'd started out with three submittals to review, this morning's meeting agenda, a policy email from The Boss, and two meeting requests for tomorrow. Actually not all that bad, unless he considered that he'd stayed an extra two hours last night to polish off the parting shots that had come in at about two minutes after five.

Not to complain, though. Being busy made the day go by and Anderson actually liked to solve problems, ...that is, when they seemed to be solvable. He'd actually built his reputation with his ability to keep on top of things, distribute the incoming in a dozen different directions and keep awareness of what was going on within close enough recall that he could discuss most any issue intelligently with those smarter than him and to whom he delegated the work.

No, his problem was that he was increasingly distracted these days. He looked about his work place. It was nice enough with a large window overlooking Lower Queen Anne. It even had a door, something that couldn't be taken for granted in many, if not most consulting agencies these days. Anderson liked to keep things neat with vertical files for working documents that generally allowed him to avoid the various piles that most of his people used to hide their actual desks. His system was failing him, though. He couldn't see his own, not much of it anyway.

It was like there was a background noise in his head. If he was able to burrow his attention into a spreadsheet or an email addressing some design issue's several possible resolutions, it could be drowned out, but if he left any space in his head for quiet, it would fill up that space with something he couldn't really describe. It reminded him of a scene from a Stephen King movie, one with that almost imperceptible scraping sound of poorly tuned violins that the soon-to-be lunatic hears in concert with his first insane thoughts of sharp knives and blood-spattered bathroom walls. He'd hear a background murmuring like the crowd at a Major League Baseball game, but turned down to a volume less than that of the air-conditioning in this God forsaken office.

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