LIKE A PAIR OF GLOVES, DISCARDED ON THE SIDEWALK
I drove to work last Wednesday, found a quarter in the parking garage. I considered picking it up, but I didn't.
In general, I'm not real big on picking up loose change. I'll stoop for cash, not so much for nickels and dimes, never for pennies. I don't have a strict quarter policy but I figured if I was meant to have it, it would be waiting for me at the end of the day.
On the way to my office, I found a pair of gloves on the sidewalk. I didn't pick them up, didn't poke them with my loafered foot. I did take a picture.
There are gardeners all over campus, blowing leaves and trimming trees and zipping around in golf carts. Someone tried to stick the gloves in their ass pocket and they ended up on the ground.
Not an omen, not a sign. Gravity.
I went to my desk and turned on my computer, stuck a couple things in the refrigerator.
About 45 minutes later, I got fired.
Nothing personal. No insubordination, no lousy reviews. There was a corporate-wide RIF, a reduction in force. 200 people lost their jobs. A guy I've known for years and years sat at his desk and read from a script. An HR person from home office listened on the other end of the speakerphone.
I was asked if I had any questions. I had none.
I grabbed my bag, my iPod Touch. I left my things in the refrigerator. I stopped by Doug's desk to tell him I was leaving and he asked me if I had a doctor's appointment. I told him I got fired. He made one of those faces from a Tex Avery cartoon, where the character's eyeballs bulge and pop out of their sockets and the Klaxon horn goes Ah ooga! Ah ooga!
We went outside to speak. Stella walked out a few minutes later, shaking her head. The guy from loss prevention was right behind her, pushing a handcart full of boxes loaded with her personal effects.
I gave her a hug, told her she wasn't the only one. She pointed at Doug. "No, me," I said. "I got fired." She made a funny face.
Ah ooga! Ah ooga!
We walked to the parking garage, talked about the severance package. Payment for the month of April, one last month of insurance. I had 156 unused vacation hours, which meant another month of pay. Some bonus money will arrive in June. A few hundred, a few thousand. I don't know what to expect.
When I got to my car, the quarter was gone.
It was that kind of day.