March 14, 2012

The Year Of Looking Out The Window

Priviledged are the few.

That's what I think during the weekdays as I stare at the walls of my cubicle.  Just feet away from me, a number of individuals look up from their desks and gaze out their windows on the golf course across the highway; the parking lot; the next building; or the cafeteria garbage area (okay, that last one doesn't sound that great).

When the "window" thought entered my mind, I started thinking about each of the offices I've had since I left college and what kind of view they afforded.  At first, I had no windows.  But then, I got to look at, in order of responsibility; a parking lot, a dog kennel, the side of a Kohl's Department store, a tree ... and then the Chicago River from 20 floors up.

Then things changed.  A men's room door, a small warehouse ... and then a series of cubicle walls. 

But the ability to stare out a window at something usually comes with a price.  And that price is responsibility.  I don't mind personal responsibility.  That's fine.  But I'm through with professional responsibility.  That probably happens to almost everyone.

Actually, the best window view I ever had was over 50 years ago, when I was in 4th grade.  Yes, I guess there is supposed to be some professional responsibility in going to school.  But grade school is different.  They make you go.  Even though you know you'd be just fine if you didn't, you have to anyway.

In 4th grade, Mrs. Cassidy decided she would sit us in alphabetical order.  This didn't go down well with me when she announced it on the first day, because I have a "low" alphabetical name, which would have put me in the first row ... right by the wall and the coat closet.  But, unknownst to me, Mrs. Cassidy must have been dyslexic in addition to being ancient and a bitch ... because she started to seat us from her right, instead of her left like a normal American would.

This put me in the row just along the windows.  And the windows were seated perfectly.  They were low enough so that you could look out without stretching your neck like a giraffe.  Just a casual gaze once in a whiile, or a slack-jawed stare if you were so inclined.

And there was so MUCH to look at.  The landscaped front lawn of the school.  Moderately traveled Cherry Street beyond that ... and the brand new apartments just on the other side of Cherry Street.

It was great.  Sure, Mrs. Cassidy yelled at me a lot ... and when she got tired of yelling at me, she would sneak up from behind and bust me in the arm with that goddamned ruler of hers ... but it was worth it.  I watched the trees shed their leaves in the Fall, the first snows of Winter, and the incoming birds of Spring.  Oh, and a couple of cool car wrecks on Cherry Street, but nothing where anyone was hurt; unlike the little girl that I barely knew who was hit in the crosswalk on the other side of the school and died; and everyone said that the car hit her so hard it knocked her eyeballs out; and when I told my Mom that, she hit me up at the side of the head so hard that MY eyeballs almost came out.  But Mom was pretty mean back then and I didn't help anything.

Little did I guess back there in 1960-something that I'd already experienced the zenith of my work window gazing.  But my life still isn't over yet.

Is being in an old-folks home work?

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