Check me out. Go on, I dare you. Check out where I’m living these days. Guess where? You probably think a bin, may have even mouthed “bin,” or perhaps turned to your partner and said, “Haha, bet it’s a bin,” through a mouthful of sandwich before clicking on the Guardian website.
But you’d be wrong, I’m not living in a bin. I’m living in an office. And not only am I living in an office, I’m living in an office in an entirely illegal fashion. Have you ever lived in an office in an entirely illegal fashion? Oh, you must. You really must. It’s liberating. And not only liberating, but the thrill of the illegality coupled with the cut-and-thrust of business in Bournemouth makes for an ideal creative environment.
The only worry is that I’m not sure quite how illegal it is. I think I need it to be more illegal than it really is, if I really want to get all nice and pumped up creatively.
I tested the legal waters earlier. There’s a woman downstairs on reception who oversees all of this cut-and-thrust. When I first met her she stared right into me, gave me the sort of look that said, “I’d like to have sex with you.” At least I think that’s what it said. At the time I was feeling a little squashed-head-on-tracks so I didn’t attempt a fuck-stare back. A week or so later I was back to gliding around rather than stumbling around and so when I saw her I gave her my best fuck-stare. I don’t think it worked. I think she just thought I was really angry with her about something, that perhaps I was a bit demented.
So I’ve been avoiding her. Until earlier. Earlier I glided down to her office. I couldn’t make eye contact, so my eyes were just darting around the room as if a tiny bird had somehow got in there and I was following it.
“Is everything okay?” she said.
“Yes, yes,” I said, perhaps a little too aggressively. “Fine. I was working late in the office last night and, um, I fell asleep for about half an hour. Late at night.”
“Okay,” she said.
“That’s probably bad though, isn’t it? You know, against the rules. If I was to sleep in the office – that would probably be against the rule of the…building.”
My eyes kept following the imaginary bird.
“Yes, if you were intentionally going to sleep the night. You’re not allowed to sleep in the offices overnight. Are you telling me you’re sleeping in your office?”
“You tell me,” I wanted to say, while lighting a cigarette. But I didn’t, I just said “Hfft, of course not,” and semi-stumbled out of there.
So it’s definitely not allowed, which I’m absolutely delighted by. You know, creatively speaking.
This was probably my fuck-stare, earlier.
The other thing about this office, is that it is not my office. And not only that, but the person whose office it is doesn’t even know I’m here. If you haven’t lived in an office that you’re not allowed to live in, that isn’t yours, and the owner doesn’t know you’re there…well, you’ve barely lived at all.
The owner could find out of course. He could read this and then email me saying, “Hold on – are you living in my office?” Naturally, I have a ready-made reply. I’m going to tell him that of course I’m not living in his office, that his office is a literary device – a metaphor.
And if he comes back one night? Comes in after a late night flight to catch up on some paperwork and there I am on the floor in the dark, covered in towels and cardboard boxes and shirts?
“It’s okay,” I’ll say, gesturing around the room. “This isn’t what you think it is. This is all very…metaphorical.”
That’s the plan, at least. One thing I’ve learnt from illegally living in an office is that you have to have a plan. More on that next time, my house and flat dwelling chums.