Kid Rock once wrote:
Well I’m packing up my game and I’m a head out west
Where real women come equipped with scripts and fake breasts
Find a nest in the hills, chill like Flynt
Buy an old droptop, find a spot for pimpin’
While it’s not going to be quite as stimulating as Mr Rock’s planned relocation we’re still pretty excited* here at Monkeytown HTCU, because we’re moving offices at last! Yay! We’re getting aircon, higher ceilings and a whole host of other goodies.
Ever since I’ve been here, the first thing that visitors to our crib say when they walk through the door is ‘Bloody hell, it’s hot in here!’ They say this because it is hot in our office – horribly so. Being first-in in the morning is like stepping off a plane in a tropical country – a country that imports sweaty shoes from around the world and stockpiles them at the airport. It’s not as if we haven’t asked for aircon, we’ve been begging for it for years. Each week’s new commander comes round to see what we’re moaning about and agrees that it is indeed far too hot, and it’s not a comfortable environment to work in – so uncomfortable in fact, that they never come round again.
A few years ago a man from Health and Safety came and installed a few monitoring devices around the office that confirmed, using the power of SCIENCE, that it was indeed bloody hot. He then told us that we were pretty buggered on H&S grounds, because although there’s a legal minimum temperature for a working environment, there’s nothing in the book about an upper range. We were advised to keep the windows open and not have so many computers, which was helpful because we hadn’t thought of that before. We were also told that we couldn’t have aircon because our site had run out of electricity, or something. So we sat and stewed for a few more years, resorting to pantsless working practices to relieve the discomfort and mourning the equipment failures that the heat caused.
During this time we’d look with envy at the offices underneath ours that had aircon, as well as doors onto the car park (handy for receiving exhibits), two large separate rooms (good for getting a ‘Lord of the Flies’ vibe going – let’s see who develops fire first, the analysts or the triage team!), and best of all a door out onto a sort of inner courtyard. The people in these offices had no real need for aircon, being bog-standard hairy-arsed detectives, while we sweated upstairs and even suffered the infamous Summer of Failed RAIDs which we attributed to the heat. We would gaze out of the window at these colleagues arriving for work on a summer morning, and we’d lust and covet…and in the afternoons we’d slowly drift off to sleep as the heat got too much.
So, time passes and our downstairs neighbours have moved out and after fighting off attempts from various other units, we’re moving in in a few weeks. The Top Landing are building us an exhibits store, the cabling’s being sorted and they’ve even put in new lab benches for us! Such luxury! There’s no money to replace the horribly stained carpets and they’ve got paint but no budget for painters so we’ll probably have to do that bit ourselves one weekend. I welcome this opportunity to decorate our own workspace – we’ve got a talented artist amongst our number (he did the Monkey picture), and I’m going to be discussing a few options with him.
Much of our work is so dismal and depressing that we need something to brighten up our days, and what says ‘happy optimism’ like unicorns and rainbows? While we’re in painting the walls in ‘Institutional Magnolia’, I’m going to get our own Monet to do a huge mural along one wall showing a unicorn flying through a rainbow, over a field of gently waving flowers. On another wall I’m going to commission a suitable Banksy work.
The courtyard is going to get put to good use, too. At the moment all four walls have windows looking out into it, but half of the offices are going to be getting culled in the cuts so we should be losing most of the stickybeakers. The ones who remain will hopefully be sufficiently frightened by the HTCU Lunchtime Naturist Club that they paint over their windows.
Benches will be brought in, along with some serious gardening. I’m thinking of a peaceful Zen rockery/garden in one corner with some running water for when we need to chill, and a veggie patch in another corner so that we can get some healthy lunches going/survive a zombie apocalypse.
At the moment there’s a big net over the top of the courtyard, to keep birds out. This is going to go – what says ‘working for The Man’ like a workplace where songbirds are barred? We’re going to put in birdtables and tasty treats to get our feathered brethren in, and maybe even a henhouse or two for fresh eggs.
It’s not going to be all relaxation and farming in the courtyard though – we’re going to get data points put in there so we can work outside when the weather’s suitable, and comfy sofas for case meetings. There are times when we need a bit of time to think about a problem or issue in a job, so I’m ordering a dozen hammocks for blue-sky thinking. These will be slung between the palm trees that we’re installing, and over the sandpits in case we tumble out.
So all in all I’m quite looking forward to the move. The actual relocation itself will be a nuisance (although I can feel the shrapnel starting to move already, so I may well be out of action for the physical part), but the fruits of my colleagues’ labour will be tasty ones.
Onwards, to the promised land!
*For ‘excited’ read ‘vaguely aware that something’s happening’