#comeback soon, we don’t want to be without you #everythingwillbefine

22/03/2020

#comeback

Today is Sunday and I am going to the office.

In Nerviano the only car driving around is mine, I enter the building from the backdoor, unlocking it with my badge. As I walk down, my steps resonate in the empty corridor. Everything looks calm and suspended.

I walk past the factory entrance and decide to take a look at the departments. I go through the metal door that begs passers-by to be left closed at all times, I put one the necessary cap and shoe covers and enter the factory. The skylights let through enough sunshine for me to see; the silhouettes of the silos, the bins and the machineries look at me silently, they look like shapes sitting and waiting. Every now and again the whistle of a siren from who-knows-where crosses the muffled atmosphere, like a call to which nobody answers. I go to the left, I push the door along its track to pass by and quickly put myself on the other side of it, before its blue stubbornly slides back into its seat. The filling department is immobile, empty, melancholic.

The inactive factory seems to be crying with solitude.

I walk all the way to the GOODS-IN warehouse with its cartons. There are neat boxes of finished products that patiently await Emiliano’s hands. I go through another heavy door to the manufacturing department, and then back to the offices.

The sound of my footsteps following me, as I walk slowly towards the reception, the phones unusually silent. I look in every office and see empty chairs, dozens of post-it notes, small soft toys sleeping next to computers, boards with incomprehensible writing on them, colored hair strands and product prototypes everywhere.

Everything speaks to me of the many persons, of their frenetic activities, of their ideas, of their work. I think back to the voices of people greeting each other, to the chatter at the end of each shift from the changing rooms, to Augusto’s radio playing in the lab, to the incessant coming and going of models around the technical room.

I go up the stairs, I go to the left. I expect to see Vanessa sitting at her usual place, but today she is not there. A little further on, the map of the world looks down on three empty seats from its frame.

I take a few more steps and reach the Customer Service office. The water dispenser suddenly releases a few bubbles of air, and their muted noise sounds like a sob: he too misses Simona on the phone, whilst denying a request to Ugo, and Antonella stretched over the orders on her desk. And then it seems to hear the efficient voices of Elisa, Deborah and Ilaria. The sheets on the tables, the folders, the printer, everything is suspended and still.

I finally sit at my desk, do what I had originally come in for, and then decide to go home. It’s almost Spring outside, the first insects chase each other in the air, but I’m thoughtful. I think this building means absolutely nothing without the people who animate it. I think of the colleagues forced by this emergency to stay away, to stop working. I think about how hairdressers can feel, being forced to close their businesses. Our products are nothing without the customers who use them, and all the buildings in the world are empty shells when there is no one who fills them with their commitment and life.

There is a word that expresses what I feel for our colleagues, customers and partners in many countries around the world, and it is fellowship: this unexpected crisis has revealed the importance, inevitability and beauty of belonging to a community, and, as part of this, the sharing of a common destiny. The message I want to send is one full of hope, because with everyone’s commitment this moment will pass and we will eventually go back to that most important thing that makes us free and that gives us citizenship in the world: our work.

#comeback soon, we don’t want to be without you, and remember that #everythingwillbefine