At night the light through our bedroom window is a deep blue and the fan blows by the dog’s bed, and I think most times I don’t realize how good we’ve got it. There’s the skylight with the pole I use to close or open the shade, my desk by the bed with a good-sized screen, a stained glass picture of that port-town in France where we lived…and now that we do all our work meetings by video, people are getting to know the insides of each others’ houses, and there’s a kind of intimacy to that.
Dawn said she heard that the minimum distance we need to feel physical intimacy with someone is four feet, and you could argue that with video, we get some of that. And I told her about the time I worked at Starbucks when we got access to the executives’ video conference room where they had life-sized, high def screens arranged in a semi-circle on the other side of a table, and we talked to people in China we’d been working with for more than a year but had never met, and what that was like to see them in person.
That was the night I had to be there from about midnight on because we did it on China time, and I stepped out to take a walk and try to wake up. The office is in a part of Seattle where a lot of homeless live, a street that isn’t much of a street called Utah Avenue. And I thought while I was out there walking and it was dark, wouldn’t it be ironic if I died on this street, having walked it most every day of my life these past 20 years. All that time I spent working there, taking walks down that road trying to clear my head, to prepare for something, or just get away.
I had no business being on that project, no role I could make for myself, though it was my full time job and I did it for more than a year. I didn’t realize then how important it is to really provide value in your job, that if you don’t give enough it’s only a matter of time until you need to go. And it’s better to take responsibility for your own fate, to own more than you think you should.
I drove home that night with the sun roof open over the bridge, wondering what would come next. And then it got dark in our bedroom as the blue light went black, and I realized just how lucky I was, now.