Sunday, February 21, 2016

A Different View!

I’m sitting in my office downtown today waiting for some folks to send me some files to process. So I have a slightly different perspective. The sun is beginning to set under partly cloudy skies providing some interesting lighting but nothing spectacular. There were a few raindrops earlier but it has cleared up some as we get closer to the evening.

You might say that I have a restricted view as there is a parking garage 50 feet from my window on the sixth floor that structure dominates my field of vision. But, I can clearly see the western horizon between floors and the sky above so I am contented. I am sure that having all that shade next to me will become valuable come next summer. Hopefully by then they will have the bugs ironed out of the HVAC system, and my office will be cooler than it was before fall arrived last year. Yup, this view suits me just fine!

This is not my first time working in a high rise building. Back in the early 90s I worked on the 11th floor of the tallest building in South Carolina. Coming from radio and television where studios, control room and computer offices were often drab, windowless chambers on the ground floor, that was quite a shock to my system. In fact it took me almost two months before I got used to having that big panorama inches outside my window. One really useful thing was that I could see thunderstorms coming while they were still miles away. That gave me enough time to power down equipment before the storm did it for me. In a tall building that was important because getting components turned off in time saves a lot of wear and tear on the somewhat fragile circuits inside.

During my road warrior years, I would often be ensconced way up in some corporate tower in cities like San Francisco, Houston, New York and San Diego, so that fact that I was already acclimatized to being in a room way up high with a view helped quite a bit with my productivity. There was always one member of my team who was experiencing this for the first time. They would be the unfortunate one that was assigned the seat farthest away from the window. Now just in case you think that I was being unfair, let me point out that the seat farthest from the window was the one that faced the window, while the one that was the closest had its back to the glass. I will also point out that during those times, when I turned around and gazed thoughtfully out the window, I was deep in contemplation and not daydreaming. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

I do have an interesting story about one of the corporate offices I spent some time in on San Felipe Street in Houston a few blocks north of The Galleria. We were on the 34th floor facing westward. One morning around 11 I was in a cubby hole beside our main team office. I was focused intently on a project plan when all of a sudden, I was startled by a huge boom as lightning struck the building. It even sounded like it struck below our floor. A raging thunderstorm had snuck up on me. I ran into the main room and looked out into… grayness! A mass of cloud and rain was whiplashing the window. The building was in the middle of a Texas Thunderstorm. There was St. Elmo’s Fire dancing all around just before the power went off. Needless to say we shut down our laptops and unplugged them from our host’s network as quickly as possible. Without power there were no elevators, so we were pretty much stuck there watching the storm. Oh, and yes, getting warmer by the minute because the air conditioning was shut down.

The sun has set now and aside the bright lights in the parking garage, it is pitch black out there. I am the only one left in our office, on our floor and maybe in the building. No one has sent me any files for the past hour, so it is time for me to pack up my stuff and head out of here. It is good to be headed for my easy chair instead of a hotel room. Oh MY!

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