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My boss says, ‘Although I can’t see out any windows, I can sense when it’s suddenly dark outside.’
No, we’re not in gaol. We’re at work. And unlucky for us our office is completely disconnected from the outside world. That’s right, whoever designed our part of the building forgot one crucial element.
So it makes us rely on our other senses. Feelings about cloud cover. Sounds of light rain. Smells of fresh flowers opening in spring while we’re stuck inside slaving away at our desks.
It reminds me of Alcatraz, the former US prison in San Fransisco Bay. Some of the worst criminals in the United States lived out their days in the prison blocks on that island. Solitary confinement, deaths, horrific riots… it all happened at Alcatraz. The cells are small, dirty, cold and dark, with very little natural light. When you visit you feel its sordid history and it sends chills up your spine.
Except for one cell in C Block. At a particular time of year at a particular time of the day a strip of sunlight makes its way through a gap in the roof above and into the cell.
This is the one cell that all the inmates hoped for.
Our office has one of these ‘cells’ too: Workstation 23. It faces a small interview room with a small glass panel on the door. If you move a little to the left while sitting at Workstation 23, the window of the little room aligns with the glass panel on the door and yes! You can see a strip of blue sky.
If the wind is blowing right, the lucky occupant of that desk might even see the branch of a tree.
So, back to my boss’s exclamation that it must have turned dark outside. The occupant of Workstation 23 pipes up with a cheery ‘I can still see blue sky out there’ and we all turn to see my boss’s reaction.
But we soon realise his ‘feelings’ have nothing to do with his intuitive connections to the weather outside. The fluorescent light in the ceiling above his desk has died.