The fine line.

Key worker and essential cog one day, discarded the next week.

“Valued employee” and “fine example” until you’re not relevant.

“Outstanding” and “innovating” before being outdated and obsolete.

“Indispensable” or “central to the team” as a budget slash deems your release date now.

Punctual, loyal, and attentive to fine details, followed by succeeded and outdated.

Moving on up, rising to the top, but all of a sudden, tumbling and spiralling downwards.

There’s a margin. A wafer thin gap. A sliver of light between dark and lost. A piece of hope dangling on the thread of chaos and change. Which way it blows is not always your choice. Which way you respond, use your own voice. A pathway here or a tunnel there. Give in, or go on?

Go on.

Phone home.

Don’t look down at it. Too late. Don’t flip the camera to reserve. Oh, you’ve done it. Does everything need photographing? The way you’ve angled the camera to catch the fire extinguisher and your slightly edited face is exquisite. Just the nine photos. Each one like a time lapse with barely perceived difference. How thin exactly is your face? It looked a bit different an hour ago, a week back, some months ago.

How many moments did you fill? Is that video the same as someone else’s video? Pucker those lips up. Take a selfie. Snap! Snap! Snap! Take the photo from over there. No hazard there. Precarious overhanging places are fine too. Passing traffic? No need to look. Step out backwards. Drivers can swerve. Beeps are loud but you don’t hear it. Focus on your phone.

Cycling the wrong way up a busy road, in the nearest lane to the pavement kerb, and head down on our phone? Don’t worry. You could see beyond the cyclist going the right way. You could. Stay against the flow of the traffic though. Let the right do the right thing. Heck, even parallel ride with a friend. Both be on phones. You’re got it.

What conversation is needed? Look at your phone. Disengage from those with you in the group. By all means, one of you ramp up the volume. I wasn’t listening to my friend anyway. Perhaps some sounds of games will dazzle my mind. Go on. Some shooting sounds? Ideal. Money and other jingles. All at once? Perfection.

Is your child walking into a dangerous situation? Our won’t see. Your head is facing down. That black mirror is playing a video of a kangaroo hugging a panda, or mushroom in a bunch of flowers, or was it a video ending in canned laughter? The point is, your toddler has walked away. Too late? Hurry! Careful now!

And now I’m typing on a phone. Aware of the problem. Known to the addiction. Embraced. Doomed. Digital.