I’ve been working in an office. Sometimes I want to leave. Sometimes I want to come back. I read the news a lot more, the “administrative state” is being torn down.
People working in an office never get on TV. They’re never part of a news story or a national campaign. The coal miners, the auto workers, the engineers, the artist, the celebrity, the pundit. Everyone talks about them.
My coworker had a baby, when he brings him in, the office gathers around. Outside landscapers dig holes, they replant trees, they plant a whole field of wildflowers. A woman sits by the railing sneaking a cigarette, watching the flowers flow back and forth, the water flow through the creek bed. The colors match her dress, they reflect off, oranges, yellows and greens merging together. An ID card dangles from her waist.
Across town a friend of mine works at a desk, three or four monitors surround him and slack messages pile up. When we talk he’s usually stressed. Across town my brother works in a new office space. Cubicle walls are being ordered. All new frosted glass and smooth paneling are being shipped. a new mac is installed.
My mom worked in an office.
We slept on the ground sick from a cold or flu. on the top floors of the Chase building in Houston. Toys lined her office wall, a Christmas tree decorated in junk outside in the lobby. Sometimes she wanted to leave i’m sure, sometimes she took us to the office on a weekend. We’d look out her windows onto the streets below. We’d grab lunch in the McDonalds in the tunnels below.
In San Francisco my friend takes us up to his office. Cold brew on tap, fresh fruit, snacks. Wall to wall white boards, all glass meeting rooms. People walk around in sneakers and casual clothes. He joins us for lunch, he slips out of his work slippers and into all black walking shoes. He talks about wanting to leave, he talks about wanting to stay.
I always wanted a studio. I wanted a place to paint and work, to plaster stuff on the walls. I wanted to build and create. My dad had a garage workshop to build and improve, to create every day. My mom had an office. She decorated it and hung pictures, she did work and took calls. We slept in the office in a daybed during Christmas. A longhorn themed christmas tree in the corner.
The walls in my moms office, and the walls in my dad’s garage weren’t too different. The work wasn’t too terribly different either. The walls in my cubicle aren’t too different from the temporary walls I had in school. Gray instead of white. Fabric instead of wood and plaster.
Why is one so much nicer?