10 October 2010
Things felt different around the shop this past week, and it is good. I think it's the rising population. We lost so many people in the recession, and really felt it then. Ever since, the parking lot behind the shop has been an expanse of concrete punctuated by the odd vehicle.
That was the detail, I think, that hit morale the hardest when it first happened. We used to compete for parking spaces; by the time the axe had fallen for the last time, we all could have commuted to work in forty-foot RV's and had no trouble finding places to put them. That empty space was a reminder, every time we arrived in the morning and left in the evening, every time we walked outside at lunch or went for a cigarette, of just how bad things were.
That was a year and a half ago, give or take. And now, finally, that lot is filling again. Some of the vehicles belong to past colleagues, returning to the shop they once called home. Some of them belong to new blood. And the collection of cars and trucks against the fence is once again beginning to resemble a row, punctuated by gaps. No longer sporadic presences in a field of naughts set apart by faded yellow lines.
And the shop itself is fewer empty spaces. Five bays, and you can walk from bay one to bay five now without being beyond sight of another person. There's something going on in all spaces. No part of the shop feels vacuous, which I couldn't have said two months ago.
Things are in motion, and there is promise again. Nothing to bet the farm on, but I'll take what I can get, because for now the optimism feels good and for once I can afford to be wrong.