I remember an early occurrence of work in my life. Looking back on it now and making a parallel to the definition of this word which sticks too often in my path now, I see that I’ve completed a circle. I ended up in the same point I started from. That childhood and those pale colours of memory seem to breathe new life in these present hours.
Various moments, various places, can’t exactly put my finger on every one of them. Hardly on any of them. Characters which my memory spawns drag question marks now, were they real? Reality as a time which has gone out of focus. Always three characters on the scene.
My grandma was always there, that’s for certain. She could only make her voice heard, my gaze was directed to the table, to the papers I was bending upon, to the notes I was taking, to the crossword I was solving. Always pen and paper. And me with my complete focused attention. Her voice speaks to an immaterial third person and words flow only like echoes now: “Leave her alone, she’s working”. She’s working. Those words protected me from whoever was trying to invade my pen-and-paper solitude. It’s worth mentioning perhaps that in my mind from then, what I was doing was not called working and I even defended myself against that. “I’m not working, just taking some notes”. Or “I’m not working, just catching up on some reading” But my defense was a weak one. Deep inside me, or not so deep, because a faint smile must have reached onto the surface of my lips, I was proud of myself, that someone thought I was working. Someone, looking at me, and thinking that my pen-and-paper games were work. Or that I was doing homework, that would be an option also. However it might have been, I was having fun with it, spending time joyfully and forgetting to have dinner, and someone thought I was working. I felt like I was getting away with it, cheating on the world and congratulating myself on it.
The contradiction grows strong now, or grows weak, I’m not really sure from which direction to look. It must be because I never regarded any of the jobs I had ever since then and until now as “work”. Those were just jobs. Even now when somebody says they’re working on something, I envy them because I always have the feeling they are just doing variants of my pen-and-paper games, secretly cheating on the world, without nobody knowing their secret. I even envy them because I haven’t had that feeling since those times which are now so blurry. I don’t think I’ve really worked since then, I’ve just been doing my job.
Maybe sleeping time is over, I should start working again. I want fun and joy to overwhelm me, I want to go back to doing my games and go to sleep smiling, feeling I’ve done something meaningful for the day. And maybe this is my way of getting those times back in focus again.