This is But One Fragment Five Hundred Words Long Constituting Part of Something Much Larger, With At Least One New Episode Per Week, And May Be What We Call A Serialized Novella.
It\’s two days after the accident and Timo seems to be his usual self again.
Yesterday, we had endured a gradual progression of his darkened moods from insular and unbearable to only just tolerable. Early in the day, while he hunched over his bench in a pitiful silence, he would glance up only after long intervals to bombard us with scowls and questioning stares as we kept our distances and diverted ourselves with speculative conversations. By mid-day, he had broken his silence, muttering commentary from a distance at overheard discussion but never offering more than a few fragmented glances into his reprimand. And by the time we were tuning down the cores, I had seen him sharing animated chatter and a few wary grins with Nacks in relatively close quarters.
But today he is Timo again.
The story of that lost hour with the Rankers after the accident is not fully revealed, though Timo offers vague insinuations that we are certain are private, and we let our imaginations fill in the gaps, discussing it over warm teas during our break. He is deliberately skipping over the finer details as he insists — adamantly insists — there is something wrong with the Essence in the new models, but when we press him he winces visibly and drops it, adding Ã¢â‚¬Å“the Clocking was sound, and it should have worked.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Klaas offers a theory that all of us Technicals — Tinkers, Clockers, and even the Voxers — are showing signs of reducing our personalities to the state of our machines. He says Timo is a good example of trying to find fault and justification in some external factor to balance the guilt of what is just a simple careless accident. We\’re all survivalists, he claims, following a basic clocking to avoid pain and keep our jobs.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Look at Timo.Ã¢â‚¬Â He says. Ã¢â‚¬Å“You want to believe that he is a self-determined young man in the prime of his career, right? But in reality he is simply acting out the clockings that are his employer\’s demands. We all are. We work to refine the machines. For countless reasons they might break. We are reprimanded and frightened into working harder — and we do just that.Ã¢â‚¬Â
I tell him I disagree with his fatalistic views and that he needs to get out of the lab more often. Ã¢â‚¬Å“And how does our own happiness fit into that basic clocking?Ã¢â‚¬Â
He just shrugs and says, Ã¢â‚¬Å“It doesn\’t. Happiness is a by-product of survival.Ã¢â‚¬Â
I want to argue that my own happiness is more than just the overflow of not getting a wrist-slap while doing my job, but I can\’t think of a concrete example. Maybe he\’s right. Maybe his perspective is less clouded than the rest of us. After all, Klaas has been in the lab for only one season.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Well, I\’m happy, anyhow.Ã¢â‚¬Â Nacks insists, but she doesn\’t offer any other justification and we all recognize this as an awkward and abrupt end to our tea break.