Reconstruction Window

Thursday in my acute psychotic episode: my trip to work

Events of Thursday, 15 January 1998.

Today is the day when ‘I lose it’ on the job and my employer really sits up and takes notice. What I tried to keep to myself becomes very public.

My trip to work.

I am a computer technician. I arrive at work, a ticketing firm in Southbank, in the usual way, after: walking to the bus stop in Bundoora; facing towards the traffic to look for the bus, while being uncomfortable that people in their vehicles can read my discomfort; riding the bus to Keon Park train station; prior to alighting the bus, facing the difficulty of what to say to the bus driver and how to say it—and how to make it sound natural; as a train passes, trying not to think about throwing myself under it and cutting myself in two from anxiety and depression; standing on the platform and trying to look normal (or minimally pacing the platform and trying to look normal); after its doors open, entering the carriage and looking for a seat; hoping not to have to sit knee-to-knee opposite a beautiful young woman; (just my luck) but pretending hard that it does not bother me; diving into a religious book and pretending that I do not notice anyone else—to the point that I clearly do notice everyone else; looking at absolutely no-one; periodically making natural looks, at the station-name signs; repeating, repeating, suffering all the while; alighting at Flinders Street station and loving to be anonymous in the crowd for a short time; trying to walk as efficiently and casually as possible across the Yarra River’s ‘arc’ bridge; stressing and trying to work out which of the two elevators will have the fewest people, or if I may be fortunate and get an empty one; stressing and trying to work out what to do and where to look if my elevator takes on a passenger or passengers; stressing and trying to plan what to do and say if I encounter a work colleague on my way to my work-station; throwing out a few natural-forced greetings of ‘Good morning,’ especially to the most important one, the manager Myles; coming to my shared work-station in my small, shared office; waking to the dawn of despair that it is another day under nerdy, aloof, green-clothes-wearing sysadmin Paul, . . . technician and disgruntled-Turk Osman, . . . and my own dedicated bully, technician and rev-head Ted.

By Stephen Plustwik

'In the face of all my foes I am a reproach, an object of scorn to my neighbours and of fear to my friends. Those who see me in the street run far away from me. I am like a dead man, forgotten in men's hearts, like a thing thrown away.'—Psalm 31[30]:12–13 (Grail).