Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Waiting for Dr. Frank-N-Furter

I've occasionally written about the office as absurdist play. This morning, as I jogged down the Broadwalk by Hollywood Beach, "The Time Warp" came on my iPod Shuffle. Office as Rocky Horror Picture Show--that idea makes a certain amount of sense too.

You may or may not remember this movie. A pair of newlyweds (a very young Barry Bostwick and Susan Sarandon!) have car trouble and make their way to a strange house full of odd characters in interesting costumes. They sing and dance and have all sorts of interesting encounters. At the end, we discover that the odd characters are even odder than they seem—they’re quite literally from another planet!

Yesterday was one of those days at work when more than once I said to myself, “I’m amongst alien life forms. It’s the only explanation that makes sense.”

Or am I the alien life form? Maybe I have so much trouble because I’m only a sojourner here.

Of course, theology is never far from my thoughts. Much of our spiritual texts remind us that we are, indeed, aliens here for a short time. We are to be in the world but not of it.

The trick is to keep our wits about us, to remember that the values of the larger culture are not our values. It’s an even neater trick to infuse our values into the larger culture, subtly, because we have spent our sojourner time in the land.

Christian wayfarer as Dr. Frank-N-Furter? I’m somewhat uncomfortable with that idea, but not for the reasons you’d suspect. The homosexual and cross-dressing aspect don’t bother me at all—but at first glance, Dr. F. is much too mean for me to make this metaphor work.

I suspect I’ll ponder this idea further as the day proceeds. It will amuse me during boring meetings. I’m an English major—I can make just about any metaphor work if I have enough time.

And I’m sure my brain will return to the workplace metaphors as the week progresses. Workplace as horror movie parody? Workplace as Waiting for Godot? Workplace as vale of soul making? Workplace as purgatory? Stay tuned!

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