‘What’s happened to me,’ Gregor Samsa, digital copywriter thought. It was no dream. This conference room, a closet, really, called a conference room only by those who would never use it for an actual conference, was somewhat too small. Above the table, on which reams of badly-designed paper were spread, hung an almost-new flatscreen TV that was never used, simply because it, like almost everything else which surrounded Gregor Samsa, digital copywriter, never worked.
Gregor’s glance took in the room and its occupants. The dreariness of the day (the rain drops were falling audibly on a nearby metal window ledge) made him quite melancholy. ‘Why don’t I keep sleeping for a little while longer and forget all this foolishness,’ Gregor Samsa, digital copywriter thought. But this was entirely impractical, for the meeting was breaking up—it was a stand-up scrum, after all, and the next four meetings were lined up outside the room like old Plymouths at a broken toll booth. But no matter how hard Gregor Samsa, digital copywriter tried to leave the room, he could not move. He must have tried it a hundred times, closing his eyes, so that he would not have to see the wriggling legs, and gave up only when he began to feel a light, dull pain in his side which he had never felt before.
‘O God,’ Gregor Samsa, digital copywriter thought, ‘what a demanding job I’ve chosen! Day in, day out in this dank carpet-tiled sadness. The stresses of the industry are much greater than they have ever been. In addition to that, I have to deal with the problems of aging, the worries about demanding clients, irregular bad briefs, temporary and constantly changing human relationships which never come from the heart. To hell with it all!’ He felt a slight itching on the top of his abdomen. Gregor Samsa, digital copywriter slowly pushed himself closer to the door of the crowded room, but it was as if his feet, covered with inexplicable markings, were stuck in a carpet made from fly-paper.
He pulled back again into his earlier position. ‘This early stand-up,’ he thought, ‘makes a man quite idiotic. A man must have his space. Some time to think. Even a room where one can have a moment of silence.’
Then, as if summoned by an unheard claxon, the people who shared the small chamber with Gregor Samsa, digital copywriter, exited the room, leaving behind not a trace of anything human. As these people, devoid of soul and emotion, beaten down by pressure, lack of gratitude and angst left the rectangle, an identical group entered and began an identical scrum.
They were not, it must be said, the same people. They only looked the same, acted the same, felt the same and were gripped by the same fears and sadnesses. The meeting went on as before. Not as if it were a separate meeting but as if all of existence were one great never-ending meeting, a giant machine of cogs and gears and flanges and belts that spun out nothing but more meetings and more meetings after that.
Gregor Samsa, digital copywriter stood as before in the corner of the dull, dark, dank room, and as before Gregor Samsa, digital copywriter stood un-noticed. He tried, again, to lift one of his tentacled legs to try once again to exit the space, but he was unable, once again, to remove himself and so the meeting, in which he had no place, no purpose and no meaning, went on like the flowing of waste-water from a dead nuclear reactor into a once-pristine river.
The silent claxon again sounded and one group of meeting goers left the room as another identical group again entered the room. The meeting began again as if it never stopped, with the same slides, the same non-listening, the same talking-over, the same technology appartuses that refuse to work. Gregor Samsa, digital copywriter, tried once more to lift his armored leg. This time, ever more firmly, it was stuck into place.
The meetings came. The meetings went.
And Gregor Samsa, digital copywriter, stayed and stayed and stayed some more.