I have an L-shaped desk that squares to a window, on the second floor of an awkward shaped building that sits on a corner lot. Yesterday, walking back from an errand, I found myself casing my window. I looked from various angles on the street, to see what exactly a passerby would notice if they happened to glance up, their eyes landing squarely on my window. Could they see my computer screen? Could they see a person standing in the window? Perhaps even the top of my head if I was sitting?
No, my paranoia does not stem from my habit of perusing salacious materials via the world wide web (even if this interested me, the fascist network of my employers would block the website, along with ESPN and the Times’ City Room blog). Rather, I have fallen prey to another vice: pop music. It streams from Lala, iMeem, Pandora, even NPR. With its peppy beats and mindless lyrics, I never need a cup of coffee to get me through the day.
I spend a lot of time alone on the second floor. With no one around to complain, I often turn up the volume, stressing the tinny speakers built into my computer. When actively working on something, the most I usually manage is an aggressive head bob. It is not a particularly flattering movement, but certainly more attractive than when I start bouncing up and down in my chair and waving my arms around in the air. No, not a seizure, just enthusiastic dancing.
I attempt to maintain an air of professionalism by remaining seated. I acknowledge the logic here is flawed; how can spaztic dancing ever be professional, even if one remains at her desk? I understand the most decorous thing to do is to cease dancing, but I cannot. I cannot let myself succumb to the tedious, soul-stifling conservatism of the working stiff. I need my pop music, and I need to dance. No one ever comes upstairs, so as long as the fascists have not extended the reign of control from the internet to surveillance cameras, I believe myself to be safe.
The window remains the one breach in intimacy, an access point to the outside world that could let out my secret desk dance parties and invite in ridicule. As my friends fight to point out, I am a ridiculous dancer. The only moves I have truly nailed are the white man’s overbite, the old man hip shake, and the “start the fire, make the pizza” routine made famous by Kevin James in the movie “Hitch”. I prefer to jump up and down and pump my arms in the air than attempt any measure of coordination. When the building is empty, save myself and the administrator downstairs, I often move into the windowless hallway and skip and “dance” around to the songs selected by my Destiny’s Child pandora station.
As of now, no one has caught me in the act. Without a dancing figure by which to gauge the sight lines, my reconnaissance proved futile. So I just cross my fingers and remain discrete, saving my big moves for the early morning hours. The rest of the day, I subtly groove to the jams, patiently waiting for “Single Ladies” to come on and give me an excuse to break. it. down.