Deathly quiet at the office today.
None of the usual joking around, “water-cooler” confabs or extended pseudo-serious parsing of the latest innnernetz meme. 1
At one point I exited my office and was immediately put in mind of a wet spring day back in Ms. Childcrist’s 3rd grade class when we all spent what seemed to be hours
cowering knelt beneath our desks, heads to the floor and our small hands over our ears. You know, to keep the fallout out.
My direct reports were today all seated but it was clear they were holding their collective breath (you know…to keep the sequestration out) as I walked out into the area. I suppose I could have drawn the tension out. Perhaps arched an eyebrow, followed by a slow sad frown on my hangdog face. Then slowly, oh so slowly, a subtle shake my head -almost imperceptible- as though to say “Well, what did you expect? I tried b’god; I tried! But it was no use in the end.” The coup de gr ce would have been to squeeze out a single tear, use the Actor’s Studio method method, evoke a terribly painful memory, say…Brando’s turn as a
whale psychiatrist, that surely would have sufficed. That tear, that droplet of emotion would have held them in suspense so long they would have all died of asphyxiation.
But that would have been (unnecessarily) cruel. 2
The Clod of Cardinals has it right. 3 Stay out of the public eye, send up smoke signals, give the lumpen mass no specific target for their complaints. But as this is the US federal government we’re talking about, an entity so hidebound that electric Christmas lights are not allowed on plastic Christmas trees in any federal building, actual smoke signals are right out.
Perhaps I should drape a black flag in my window, to show that no final sequestration determination has been arrived at. A white flag would mean…well, the fuckin’ furloughs are here.
Probably the best thing is to do nothing.
Let the senior executive management, the SESers deal with it. They are, after all, infallible. They speak, as it were, to God.
Isn’t that how things are supposed to work?