December 16th, 2004


A Cube With A View

My friendly but sometimes annoying coworker, Loud Music Guy, sits right next to me. We both have window cubicles which are arranged so that our desks face the window.

Here's the layout. I sit in the corner, he sits to my left. The vertical blinds start in my corner and cover both cubicles. What this means is: if he wants the blinds closed over his cubicle, they must be closed over mine also. Conversely, if I want my blinds open, his have to be open also.

It would be easy to have mine closed and his open, by pulling the blinds halfway. Unfortunately it happens that he usually wants them closed, and I usually want them open.

I love having a window, and I like to gaze contemplatively out the window when I am pausing in my work. I like having my eyes caught by a sudden flock of geese swooping up between office buildings. I like to see what the weather is like, and even occasionally watch traffic.

He likes the window view, but hates the sun. Our windows face south, and on clear winter days the sun is low enough in the sky that it shines right through and into his eyes. It also (he claims) causes glare on his monitor. Of course the sun shines in my cube too, but I'm okay with it. I have no problem with monitor-glare, and I have a visor which I wear on sunny days to shade my eyes. I look stupid, but I can see my monitor great while still enjoying my window view.

Obviously, his inability to see his monitor outweighs my desire to look out the window. So if he can't see, I let him close the blinds without complaint. What bugs me is the fact that he never opens them when the sun sets, or on cloudy days. Often I will open them at these times, sometimes grumbling under my breath ("why is it so dark in here?"). When the sun comes out again, he will close the blinds, sometimes grumbling under his breath ("it's too bright to see my screen!").

It is a constant battle.

While waiting for a conference call this afternoon, a friendly and not-yet-annoying coworker and I were laughing about the struggle. We were sitting in a little office, and the other party had not yet called us, so our attention was drawn to that window's blinds. "I bet you could just take down the vertical pieces on your side," he said thoughtfully.

"You know, you're probably right!" We had nothing better to do, so we both hopped up onto the desk to examine how they were attached. It turned out that it was pretty easy to just remove individual pieces! They were also simple to reattach!

So this evening, after almost everyone else had left, I climbed up onto my desk. I removed several of the blinds covering my window. I cleared out a nice open space, so I could see a fair amount of the outside world. (I'll decide tomorrow if I should just take them all out, or if I can see enough.)

HA! Take that, Loud Music Guy! I will have my window back, and there is nothing you can do to stop me. So there.