Walter has strong intentions to change the system.
It was on this day that young Walter came to a life altering conclusion. It was, he thought, not possible for the situation to be worse. The system, as it was, was not operating optimally. It should be — no, he thought — it absolutely must be improved.
He stood up that day with such intent that his assuredly ergonomic roller chair rocketed out into the narrow aisle between Walter's row of semi-cubicles and the next row of semi-cubicles. It rocketed out with such force that it smashed the next row of semi-cubicles to pieces, sending clothed and padded wall sections twirling violently into the air and showering the entire work floor in the formerly pinned and stapled memos, sticky notes, and photos that had been adorning each wall segment.
Walter was shocked at first, and wanted to retreat back into his chair on instinct, but realized with a start as he reached back for it that his chair was now well on its way to the next county over, having broken through the remaining cubicle rows and bursting from the windowless work floor wall, allowing the first rays of sunlight to stream through the clearing dust and debris onto the plastic leaves of an often much admired potted plant that had toppled over near the hole.
His coworkers gathered at the newly formed entrance to covertly take in some fresh air, and after the dust had settled they noted that Walter's eager intent had been so powerful that he had managed to shoot a hole straight through the next building over, where other office workers were gathering around their hole to peer back at the source of the uproar disturbing the natural order of their business. Walter's coworkers simply shrugged across the gap at the others as if each to say, "I am shrugging right now. I hope you understand what shrugging implies because you are too far away for me to speak to you and heaven knows I don't have the wherewithal to call you over something so mundane. And what phone would I use to do that anyways? Even if I knew the number to the building and extension of the phone nearest you, employees at our level have no access to an outside line from any phone. And surely you understand from my shrugging that the conversation we may have had about the hole our office has created in yours would be considered an obvious waste of our team's resources and leave me subject to reprimand."
When Walter turned to see his coworkers shrugging intensely across the portal he had created, he began to feel quite sheepish. Is this what change is about, he wondered. He had never changed anything before. It seemed to him to create an awful mess. And this was only the intent to change! Goodness knows what devastation further action might bring about. He hesitated on these thoughts, but he faltered only for five minutes or so while he wandered to the staff room to refill his mug with coffee, thinking all the while about the lovely journey his chair must have taken out beyond the downtown ridge. Maybe it got all the way onto the freeway, landed in the back of some truck, and was well on its way to a much needed vacation. Walter sighed and sipped dreamily at his coffee. His thoughts were interrupted by Carol walking in.
Carol congratulated Walter on his triumphant show of intent. She twirled her hair and crooked her eyes at Walter playfully. Walter, taken with a fit of passion, suddenly felt he realized what must be done. This is only the beginning, he said, boldly thrusting his chest out.
Carol was stunned, and froze mid-twirl, letting the tightly wound lock fall from the vortex of her finger. Carol had seen it once before. Roger, a man two years younger at the time than Walter today, had stomped his foot down with such furious determination that the entire building shifted down one floor, crushing the lowest level of the parking garage where all the lowest tier employees had to park. Roger had cried out after his blazon display of intent, that that was not the end of it, that there would be… and here Carol could not continue without choking on her words… change.
Walter timidly sipped at his coffee, trying his best to attend to the story, but he was quite wrapped up with this statement about an additional layer of parking being completely lost. He always took a bus to work because there wasn't enough space in the building's subterranean garage for his car. It was all this Roger's doing after all, the fool. To think, Walter could have his car sitting comfortably in the garage, an amicable beginning to the end of every day, greeting him with AC or heat depending on his want and the season. In summer, the office was cooled so intensely in the name of productivity that it often left him shivering at his desk, so for the sake of variety, he would love to sometimes turn the heat on in his car in the summer. It was a guilty pleasure, sweating away in artificial heat while others had to sweat in the sun-and-body heated bus. But all that was impossible without a place to park. This story about Roger left him feeling even more hesitant than the chair incident. The ripples of change are quite violent, he thought.
Carol had finished fitting through a small bout of sobs. She wiped her eyes, smearing her makeup terribly. It wasn't just smeared, but it was smeared down and to the left under her left eye, and then straight out to the right beside her right eye, leaving her face looking terribly asymmetrical. Frankly, it bothered Walter enough that he made a hurried excuse to return to his desk and left a solemn Carol leaning over the crumb-peppered staff room counter clutching at her hair and fearing for the future of young Walter.