Sometimes you just have to doff your cap and say “well played”. It sticks in your craw, burns to your core, but you have to be magnanimous. So you bend the knee, accept the loss and put it down to experience.
That they used all their cunning and bent most of the rules in the pursuit of victory is almost besides the point; you’d have done the same, have done worse in the past truth be known.
But this defeat will take some getting over. After conniving and codding them into paying us for lounging around at home in our cosy clothes it seemed like they had no real riposte. And we got cocky. We took the power back, began ‘quiet quitting’, giving the bare minimum, only 100 per cent instead of 110. United in our desire to live our best lives, express our self-worth, and stick it to the man, we went against centuries of programming and told our employers to do whatever they liked because we simply did not care.
Even so, there was no need for such a grievous measure, to rope in the government, to bring the fight into our homes, to where we rest our head. That’s what they’ve done though. “Want to work from home?”, they asked. “Okay, I hope you’ve got plenty of dressing-gowns."
Up went the energy prices, the cost of coal, wood, anything which could be burned to provide heat. Down went the price of petrol and diesel and in came subsided public transport. Right now we're holding out, the pleasant autumn sunshine negating the need for even a light hoodie or a pair of slippers. But we know it’s futile, know that as sure as night follows the day, life follows death, those temperatures are going to drop, and the layers are going to come on.
The more stubborn among you, the revolutionaries, will announce you’d rather freeze than give in, will probably set up some left-wing activist group and march till dawn. But the rest of us will file in diligently, shedding hats, gloves, scarves, socks as we take up residence in our nice comfy seats in front of the lovely warm computer.
For those who hold out, threaten to set up their own office in an abandoned warehouse in the middle of Longford, there’s further plans afoot. “Turn off the lights,” says the man from behind his giant screen, “see how they manage without electricity.” Because that’s how far they’re willing to go, they’d rather have us roaming the streets, looting shops in stolen diggers than let us work from home for one more day.
Following the example of the Royal Family and its penchant for dramatic soubriquets, they’ve even given it a codename: DARA. Whether it was named in honour of Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien or stands for Destroy All Remaining Agitators remains to be seen, but it shows how serious they are if nothing else. Under Operation DARA, rolling blackouts, each four hours long, will hit 125,000 households at a time. It will extend to street lights and public amenities and leave entire communities in darkness and stubborn workers trying to do spreadsheets on their child’s copybook by candlelight.
Obviously, they’re saying this is only a last resort and it probably won’t happen. But we’ve heard that a lot in recent years, there’s been a lot of things that probably weren’t going to happen that ended up very much happening. So while it’s honourable, even admirable, to continue fighting the good fight, to refuse to buckle no matter how much pressure they apply, this is one battle we simply can’t win.
For the sake of the nation we’ll all going to have to back to the office, five days a week and possibly at the weekends too. We’re going to have to give up the big houses we bought in the country, the ones with all the outdoor space, and move back into the cities, into cramped, overpriced apartments with stunning views of the apartments across the road.
We’re going to have quit the quiet quitting, admit we were wrong and return to being ordinary rank and file; a faceless collection of zeros and ones to be dispensed with whenever the big man sees fit. We had our fun, they allowed us to have our fun, but now it’s over and we have to be good boys and girls.
Because if we don’t they’re going to opt for the nuclear option. They’ll turn off the Christmas lights.