Monday, August 17, 2009

Nightdragon, the building-spotter

I like to think of myself as, if not exactly a tough guy, then something somewhat approaching it. However, I now realize an uncomfortable truth about me. I'm a geek.
I've become a bit obsessed about the building I work in. It's a hunk of rubbish with a brick exterior that should have been condemned at least ten years ago. But that's what makes me so curious about it.
The company I work for is the only business left in that building, occupying one half of the second floor. As for the ground floor, the first floor, the third floor and the other half of the second floor—they are all empty. On my breaktimes, I used to wander around all the empty office rooms and even a disused cafeteria before I started getting the creeps about it. Now I enjoy standing in the parking lot, looking up at all the empty rooms from the outside, and trying to spot phantoms.
It is, of course, typical of the company I work for that we'd be housed in this creaky edifice, which looks like a prison or an austere schoolbuilding from most angles, right up until its demise. It is scheduled to be imploded in September 2010, to make way for a hotel. The freeholders (the building's owners) actually put a FOR LEASE sign up at the front, though I can't imagine any business being so desperate for space that they'd consider this building, with its capricious-minded elevators, stained carpets and flickery lighting. Indeed, only me and my co-workers have that particular joy.
The building was built in 1953 and used to house the British social security offices. They had the sense to move away five years ago. The environmental agency offices on the first floor followed suit soon after. The travel training agency on the other side of the second floor moved house last year and the business on the third floor moved out just a few months ago. Now we are truly alone. As I say, it's a bit creepy around there now.
But I still can't help but wonder: Who occupied our space on the second floor before our company moved there in 1996? What did the building look like in its heyday, when it was a place you actually didn't wrinkle your nose up at the thought of going to every weekday? I find it incredible that there's an actual cafeteria on the third floor. The thought that at one time dinner-ladies worked there cracks me up; it's so unbelieveable given how forlorn the building is these days.
It's gotten to the point where I'm thinking of asking the security dude (he's only there because of us) if he knows of any old pictures I could look at and any history of the building I could read about. Why do I even have the slightest interest in any of it? I truly don't know, and that's the sad part.
I guess it's because I'm desperate to know if this building ever looked nice. Or I'm just a geek. You've heard of trainspotters? Maybe I'm a building-spotter.

POSTSCRIPT: I direct you, dear reader, to this particular entry (click on the purple words) for further evidence of my buidling-spotter credentials!

1 comment:

Pasadena Closet Conservative said...

Some of my best friends are geeks.