When I was 23, I had a job as an office assistant. One of my duties was faxing.

The fax machine flummoxed me. I didn’t understand that it had an automatic function, whereby you could feed the pages in a quick scan and let it do the slow work of transmitting while you sat at your desk, eating Wheat Thins.

Instead, I stood next to it, feeding it one sheet at a time, waiting for the ludicrous beep, watching the paper get sucked in centimeter by centimeter, getting the confirmation page, dialing again. It was a process whose pace was best described as pre-Industrial-Revolution-ish. I faxed for three hours.

I got home grumpy, vented to my roommates about my terrible day: How maddening the fax machine was, how awful, how sometimes I entered a wrong number and had to start over. They nodded sympathetically, but somewhere between “paper cut” and “error message,” I realized I was telling the most boring story in history.

That was the day I decided to get a more interesting job. And I succeeded. It’s just lately, when I’m working past midnight, in windowless rooms, like Rumpelstiltskin without the magic, that I have my doubts.


One Response to “Labor”

  1. Duncan Says:

    But you’re spinning gold.

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