After dinner, my daughter and I returned to our room at the Thistle Westminster Hotel across the street from Buckingham Palace.
I immediately gave Lauren another helping of my unsolicited words of wisdom. Something I had done hundreds of times before. My fatherly advice often came in the form of a mini lecture on a topic I deemed was important. She was used to it. As Lauren became older I could tell she would listen politely then do whatever the hell she wanted. I get it. It’s called growing up. But this time was different.
It all started with a simple quiver in my voice. I cleared my throat. Then I just bowed my head in my hands to cover my face.
My acting job at work had extended to the times I gave my daughters lectures about pursuing their dreams and never settling. I was still doing what I told them never to do. I became an actor at work to keep my job. I pretended to care about the tedious bullshit I was engaged with, like sending emails instead of managing my team in person to please management by documenting everything for “accountability” purposes. We had become a “top down management organization” that paid lip service to the founding philosophy that associates had a voice. We were an understaffed, lean company, of puppet micromangers controlled by a foreign owned process-oriented executive management brain trust located 830 kilometers “as the crow flies” (approx. 5,500 miles) across the Pacific.
As a result, more than half of my adult life was spent within a geometrically perfect square of life-sucking space. My physical location within the office waffle iron comprised of three divider walls and an equal length opening that offered easy entrance and exit. My mental location was off grid, putting one foot before the other at work. I joined the merry chorus of other foot shufflers, smiling broadly as we passed each other in the halls and breezeways. The grunting and slurping sounds of our non-exempt staff as they tried to down there meal, check text messages, and urinate without defecating (takes too long) within the allotted 30 minutes lunch break. We were the walking dead, but preferred to think of ourselves as a merry company of The Damned. We even had our own Call Center break room called “The Happy Room.”
I must say however, that my life as a “cubicle dweller” paid well and the benefits were excellent. So, my words of advice to my daughter was: “Don’t do what I did. Use me as an example of a failure.”
I was sobbing, forcing myself just to get the words out. Tears fell from my cheeks, even when I didn’t blink. My voice was high pitched and strained. It was almost impossible to speak as I struggled to give my daughter a warning. With all my heart open and exposed, I wanted her to feel my pain. My greatest misgiving. I wanted her to hear my confession.