The reactions among my co-workers varied greatly. Tim snorted into his coffee cup, and Jane kept a completely straight yet rather pink face, as if taking for her own the embarrassment Scott ought to be feeling.
Scott certainly didn't seem embarassed. In fact, he stopped before approaching his desk and gave us all a look of amusement. I did not wish to get caught staring, and so I turned to regard my co-workers. And it was here that I made an important realization.
My co-workers had the imagination to let their mind's wander, and they had the creativity to do so to the far reaches of fantasy, and yet, here was a simple event in the real world, and most of them couldn't even get their minds around it.
Scott was now sitting down at his desk like an athlete taking a quick break. I watched him carefully. He wasn't quite there in the normal sense. But what was the normal sense? Well, when a worker is present at work it means that they aren't going anywhere fast; they're stationary, settled, slow, and mild. Scott was at a whole different level of present, the kind you would feel when an actor breaks onto the set at the climax of a masterpiece. And therefore, in such a setting as an office, he wasn't really there. It felt as if he was only passing through. Like a breeze.
And even with this thought, my seemingly creative mind could not grasp what happened next.
Judging by the deathly silent, no one else could either. Scott was calmly ripping his order book into pieces.
Was he quitting? Just like that? After all these lifeless months of showing up on time and hardly saying a word, Scott was leaving?
Before we could come to any conclusions, he turned to notice us all. And as his intelligent eyes fell upon our stricken expressions, I felt my metaphor fall apart. He wasn't like an actor at all. Actors were distant. They played imaginary characters. And then, with the crumbling of this metaphor, I realized that it all made perfect sense with respect to my previous metaphor. The reason Scott was overwhelming our imaginations was because he wasn't imaginary. No matter how many channels my imagination could work on, it could never create the reality of Scott's beaming presence. We were all stunned. He didn't have cable. He lived cable. He lived cable better than cable did.
He took a breath to address the room.
"I've come to some conclusions," he said. "And I suggest we all quit our jobs."
Our jaws dramatically dropped as we were a lousy bunch of over-actors.
"Listen," he continued, his sincerity overbearing. "You're all smart people. Can you not see?--None of you actually believe in this place! You only work here to get paid."
Duh, said the general consciousness. But there was something wrong with this duh. And Scott's glare revealed this uneasiness in us all.
No one spoke, but a few murmurs or gasps were let out as Scott climbed onto his desk.
And then he gazed out over the cubicles, an explorer of the new world. The office went quiet as all heads rose to this astounding image of random leadership and courage. And as if he was not already demanding enough attention, he then raised both arms in the air and took a tremendous breath. The building held still. Then Scott yelled the single most powerful command I have ever heard yelled across an office building.
It left me blinking, it left me with tears in my eyes, it lifted me up and slapped me across the face, and it caused me to truly realize what I'd never realized before.