**In Deference To Cubicles

Cubicles in a now-defunct co-working space in ...
Cubicles in a now-defunct co-working space in Portland, Oregon.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My office doesn’t make use of cubicles. Cubicles, the ubiquitous “they” assert, occlude the free exchange of ideas. My field is all about the free exchange of ideas. I market ideas. I catechize ideas. But ideas, it seems, are my only friends.

Do not get me wrong, the office is not a hostile environment. I do not sit at work all day feeling kinship to Bartleby, the Scrivener, nor am I my office’s equivalent of Dwight Schrute or Gareth Keenan.

At the office, though, there are people and groups of people who already know their place. I stepped into a series in progress, a few seasons in. I’m a minor character with few lines. Even when episodes focus on my character’s story line, my character’s story-line lacks romance, entertainment, or happy endings. My character does not end up at the local bar that night laughing happily a few drinks in, surrounded by colleagues tipping their glasses.

Cubicles would keep my eyes on my work. Cubicles would keep me from worrying whether anyone had noticed my absent-minded failure to meet one or more hygienic necessities in that morning’s rush, whether colleagues were bothered by my presence in the room, whether talking in code was ever not obvious to those being excluded, or whether unexpected feelings would ever be returned.

Cubicles keep me from noting that he is classically handsome, nothing at all like Bieber or Timberlake. Cubicles keep me from finding any excuse to talk to him. Yes, it was an accident to drop my pen. Deciding not to pick it up was a calculated move. Cubicles keep me from glancing over at his workstation and noticing that he’s spending company time on Facebook and realizing that he appears offline on my chat list. Cubicles keep me from wanting to spend every minute of office time staring into those intense eyes while encouraging him to talk about all of the things he’s knowledgeable about, ideas not freely exchanged, rather thoroughly absorbed, as his mere presence stifles my confidence.

Cubicles keep me honest, and less crazy. Cubicles keep my head in the proverbial game. Cubicles keep me from making a fool of myself. But my office does not make use of cubicles.

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