Anne MichaelOver my work career, I’ve had a variety of offices. Some were windowless closets that made me feel like a mole or other subterranean creature. But mostly I’ve been a cubicle warrior staring at cloth-covered walls and feeling like a tissue popping out of a box each time I stood up. Because of this, decorating my work space has been something of a non issue with only a few family photographs and perhaps a favorite cartoon or inspirational saying tacked onto the fabric-dressed walls. In the past year, however, with my new responsibilities I gained a real office. Because it’s in an area where external customers don’t visit, my desk is a old Formica piece. This suits me perfectly because I’ve been able to decorate my work space in a “Late Basement/Early Attic” kind of style with everything I could scrounge to make the space functional and comfy. No one will be knocking on my door to be the next style guru for HGTV, but I love it. Lots of pictures, a bulletin board and whiteboard and two tall file cabinets make it perfect. Aside from that, there is a great deal of storage space for all my training supplies. But the most exciting thing is that my office has a window—a very large window that overlooks a road with enough foot and vehicle traffic to make me feel connected to the world. This is important since my office is the one furthest from the main hub of activity.
The small median in the road outside my window is of the sort that the city fathers had installed on just about every road in our small tourist Mecca. It is lined with palm trees, green grass and an array of hardy tropical plants. Usually the palm trees are alive with green parrots that squawk and jabber and congregate in their fashion as though attending one big party. Today, however, construction crews have commandeered the road, digging up the macadam, making repairs and restoring the road to being useful once again. This cacophony of machinery and human voices has chased the parrots from their frond perches. I’ve been fascinated with the deft touch the backhoe operator has as he loads the dump trucks full of yellow sandy soil. He seems to load it as tenderly and gently as a mother diapers a baby’s bottom.
Most of my days are spent in a windowless training room so the only windows I see all day are the small orbs in the faces of the class participants that tell me if they understand the subject of the day. These rare “desk days” are a visual treat as I get to see the world outside.
My office is so full of natural light that reading my manuals and materials and preparing reports and schedules is a pleasure. A comfortably padded chair for the occasional visitor is a delight to settle into in the afternoons with a hot cup of tea as I study whatever course work I need to get myself up to speed for an upcoming class. At lunch time, if I’ve no plans and no errands to run, I sit in the window with a book, my meal and a crisp cold bottle of root beer enjoying the heat and the sunlight. It is a wonderful haven on a rainy day as well. I’ve learned that any book I read at lunch must not be a serious one. It has to be fun and lighthearted, something that makes me laugh or makes my brain play jubilantly with quirky concepts or unusual twists of plot or character. George Carlin, Dean Koontz, David Eddings and Orson Scott Card have provided the fodder for many a pleasurable lunch hour these past weeks.
Speaking of quirky, there is an insane little woodpecker that seems to think that the reflection he sees in the reflective surface on the windows is another woodpecker poaching on his territory, and he is pecking and poking at the window in an attempt to scare this rival away. I hope there is not a mama woodpecker sitting in a nearby tree wondering what is wrong with her man, and hoping the eggs on which she sits are not going to inherit the same kind of kooky habits as her mate.
I must surely have the best office in the world. It has become a sort of refuge at work—from work. Considering how many hours a week I spend here, the comfort is truly an unexpected but much appreciated pleasure. Even when I’m old and long retired, I’ll just bet I will be sharing these nice memories with anyone who will listen.