2. Room with a View

Early in the morning and being the first to have arrived for work in an empty office, I stared at the line of mesh office chairs pushed against the wooden tops of the deserted desks forming a lane of vacant work stations. The single sound to be heard on my floor was the buzzing of the ventilation system that conditioned the air in the office and was accompanied by occasional ticks of the heating pipes. With the lights still turned off, suspended in a lapse of importance, these two hours in the morning were the only hours I was able to work. I churned out line after line, inventing cleverly structured pieces of code that would process millions of rows of data, applying calculations, summarizing related information, forming output, and persisting results. This morning I worked on a feature that allowed online advertising in real life to be targeted by time of day based on the local system time of a user’s computer. The business logic was described in sufficient detail and satisfying simplicity, and the technical implementation was designed including the foreseeable bottlenecks like daylight savings exceptions and technical preferences. But quickly, I ran into the first unforeseen, unadvertised difficulty of ten percent of missing and unknown IP to geo location mappings.

Nothing ever was as perfect as was hoped for. Instead, always expect the unexpected. The rule of imperfection never fails. Intelligence was and had always been nothing more than an essential flaw. It did not differ from the nature of progress in evolution as an unforeseeable, random mutation in the process of reproduction, which by trial and error, more often than not failed, and by exception only found a useful purpose in a small number of cases. The problem in Artificial Intelligence was that it was still considered to constitute a higher disposition instead being based in error. Similarly reason was still considered to be deliberate, intentional and creative. But reason was simply the capacity to repeat a perception, to literally copy it, and only in failing to do so, intelligence as the error of reason, stumbled upon a mutation which fit better to an ever changing world that the attempted repetition of prior action. The rule always applied, it was the only rule never to fail. As a reasonable person more than I was intelligent, however, I believed still in perfection, the subsequent failure of reality was highly disappointing.

More difficulties arose as I approached a best of possible solutions, never minded all its faults. I degenerately lost my motivation to do any more work. Infrequent footsteps crowded the office, chatter filled the space, people flocked in alone or in small groups. I discerned the broken sentences of the morning chit chat of coworkers, the social compulsions of the shallow jokes they made, which were rarely funny, but did not fail to stir uncomfortable laughter so typical of uneasy company, careful murmur, occasional limbic activity, laughter, constituting a cautious cognitive awakening, excited by the expectation of soon-to-be pleasure that followed solving practical problems, the furnaces of people’s minds heating up, while in me these functions now reciprocally all died out. My irritation and agitation were simple signs of the social rejection that I enforced. I did not belong here, I was desperate to think why I was here. The energetic concern for petty tasks, the full mental involvement in this artificial group bonding that took place among a collection of random young professionals, to feel empathy for everyone’s shallow objectives, they made up the essential talent for success, and I lacked these talents passionately. I could not impose any sign of interest and convince others of my pretended interest veined for the useful purpose of business, and the whole house of cards, that forms a person’s career in life, collapsed before me, with the drought of other people’s presence scurrying around the office. It was a fate I no longer feared, but I had become lethargic toward, I went my way, and carved my path through the rock, chiseling patiently until the day was over.

All could be doubted but doubt, I know to know nothing, all Cretans lie. Once you know, it is impossible to forget certain insights, nevertheless their simplicity. Once you seek to know the truth, to forget is to be lost forever, and who can ever go back to a state of falsity again, who can sleep with open eyes. I could serve my own falsities at least like in a game or experiment, but not those of others. I could only resign to being present to theirs.

The wall of murmur grew higher until it had reached the cacophonous flood levels of the working day and I was unable to surf the relentless rolling waves of stupidity and lack of meaning. My brain drowned in this endless activity of rolling up this stone up the hill and in the consequent state of nothingness I managed only to do nothing, sitting defeated at the foot of the mountain, defeated. The chaos of another day of boredom had arrived, passivity overwhelmed me. Some chairs were pulled back, the squeaking of plastic wheels and cheap hydraulic springs pressing down or veering up, announced the activity of other worker bees. The hollering of self imploded opinions with the air of presumed fact, the delirious buzzing, the back and forth arguments of arbitrary hunches, the rushed pacing of continuously running late, ever so being busy as a result, the glorious imposture of everything being eternally important, nothing ever ending to be, business as usual, we are now all enclosed by our own point of view, and each point relentlessly rolled over me like an avalanche. Papers rustling while being ripped from blocknotes, notebooks and personal computers starting up, pens scribbled down jots of thoughts. Sales reps should be able to reserve a campaign. But for how long by default, would it expire without confirmation, and should the forecasting consider a reservation before it is finalized? These were all very, very important and even more interesting questions. In a flash I realized these challenges could be my life, if only I grasped it. I immediately thought of killing myself. I rolled my chair back, stood up and went to take a pee. I locked the door to the private water closet. State regulation for multiple water closets in a row demanded them to be divided by separation walls. I unzipped my pants, pulled down my underwear, sat down, picked up the New York Post from the water reservoir and started reading the outrageous headlines. I pushed back the foreskin of my penis and started to jerk off. The sperm ejaculated and landed in the puddle of clear water in the bowl. The same water that was used to flush the toilet was used as tab water for drinking. The spring water company filled its tanks for its fountains with the same water before it was directed down the Catskills aquaduct heading toward the city, and drove the bottles in trucks down for delivery. I wondered why and how this was happening, ripped a sheet of toilet paper and dried my glans. I imagined each attractive woman in the office drinking a cup of water contaminated with large drops of my cum. Back at my desk, I stared with a dull interest at my co workers and couldn’t decide if I should say something. In the end I decided not to and I looked up the system of the Catskill water supply of New York City on the internet.

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