It was a great leap from northern New Jersey to southern California when I decided to relocate two years ago. At that time, I felt like a pioneer girl from Willa Cather’s novel or a Horace Greeley in his Overland Journey from New York to San Francisco. Now the not-so-long time has passed, and I still have the job I got first in California, but I am now not sure about being rooted here like a tree without luscious fruits, which is just one of many plain, common trees whose sudden absence will not be conspicuous. Amid in this existential tides of life, willful, fateful, or both perhaps, reading today’s article from the New York Times about a declining trend of relocation after the ease of Pandemic-related restrictions statewide seems to shake my already shaking ship adrift between Scylla and Charybdis.
The article reports that now that the post-Covid 19 has dawned a new era of remote-controlled employment, many people do not need to move to another state for their new jobs unless they are packaged with satisfying relocation fees. And staying put in their home grounds while working remotely for their bosses across the Rocky mountain or on the other side of the coast fortifies a sense of close-knit family and community that they feel strongly related and belonging by staying put in their home grounds. Further, the article illustrates a particular fragment of well-to-do middle-class people with professional careers or executive positions who indeed don’t have to take trouble moving their already content families to new locations. Finally, the article excludes the peripheral class that orbits around the lesser bright solar system whose life spans depend on a dominant sun’s brilliance.
People are still moving to and from for their uncertain futures, as I have witnessed so far, despite the Pandemic scare less than the existential threats of daily life. Hasn’t the journalist seen enough of the genuine fabrics of life by getting on a morning bus carrying a crowd of the middlings and underlings heading for their workplaces? Isn’t The New York Times proud of being one of the most liberal newspapers in the world? Or is it for most liberal middle-class only?
I still like to think of myself as a frontier woman in the Still Wild West, living with an elderly mother and an eleven-month-old tabby cat with chronically weak respiratory and digestive systems in a make-shift house on a pitiful homestead often besieged by the lawless and the uncultured. And I still don’t know my decision to move from here to there was a fool’s wish, acting on a foolhardy impulse neverendingly. Nevertheless, I want that all that wise sayings about hope and courage are truth and nothing but the truth, and I am sure that many people share similar kinds of wishes in the courses of their lives that today’s article excludes.
Although it was an icy Sunday with a frequent scatter of snow today, which was a typical climatic tendency on the east coast, the home of Mr. Sato’s young family was cozy and nice with a fireplace, a rocking chair, a comfy set of sofa, and a TV set.
Meet the Sato family from Japan, who have recently arrived in Charlottestown, a neighboring town of Avonlea. In spite of a different cultural setting, the Sato family fit right into the lifestyle and cultural mode of a new environment thanks much to their civil decorum, playful nature, and diligence work ethics that are universal virtues transcending the subjectivity of time and territorial boundaries.
The Sato are a young, budding family with Mr. Sato himself, Michiko, his pretty wife, and 2 adorable little sons, Hideo and Yuki who are the apples of their eyes. Perhaps they may reside in Chalottestown permanently after Mr. Sato completes his term in the office. However different decision Mr. Sato will make, the family bound by love, understanding, and support will not be deterred by any existential difficulties of life and remain strong and be a bedrock of what a family should be in times of trouble.
Stephen King said that people love reading about what others do for a living because it’s so entertaining and thrilling at the same time with subject matters being closed to the real world. It gives readers a sense of realism or verity in which we all are rooted because work is what ties to us in reality where we face existential absurdities in dealing with human imperfections in conjunction with performing demands imposed on our daily tasks at work.
Hence a story of a neurotic legal secretary who has good heart but is driven to a borderline madness by witnessing the idiosyncratic characters she encounters in the office: The bumptious boss, the snobbish lawyers and their ilk, the ingratiating and ruthless HR personnel, the pitiful and sometimes cunning co-workers. Reading this story is like watching a black comedy which induces both pathos and satirical comedic relief. In fact, this diary seems to be more of a therapy journal in which the narrator purges out her hidden innermost feelings and emotions about her work and the people at it; it’s a Punch-like compendium of caricatures in word format.
Ms. Halliburton could have written this hilarious book as her memoir of a seasoned legal secretary in a prestigious Manhattan law firm. Or more likely than not, the author might have written this diary as a way of releasing her own stress and distress. For whatever reason it might be, Stephen King was right in saying that we enjoy stories of others in relation to their jobs because this book is easy to read and enjoyable, providing the reader with the kind of pleasure a Peeping Tom indulges in by peeking at what others do and feel about their work with a telescope.