Monday, August 23, 2010

Dancing in the dark

Anyone with automatic motion detectors (or whatever those thingies are called) on the lights in their office can probably relate to this little tale of coordination (or lack there of) and situational awareness (or lack there of).

My office has its lights on a motion sensor. My job doesn't require a lot of moving about most of the time. Because my department consists of set-our-own-hours type contractors, it's not unusual for me to be alone in my area of the building, even during "normal" business hours. These quite times are a blessing to my productivity, but often result in sudden black-outs as the building decides that I'm not really there because I haven't moved anything more than my fingers in whatever interval of time it deems significant for deciding such things. Usually, I just raise my hand in the air, and roll my chair about until the lights come back on. But on super quiet days when multiple gesticulations are necessary, I start devising new ways turn the lights on--often in time to whatever music I happen to be listening to.
I've been known to "put my hands up in the air and wave them around like I just don't care." Sometimes, though Sharif don't like it, I will "rock the Casbah."
I've done something like the chicken dance, once used a leg, in a sitting version of a kick-line with one person... which really isn't a kick line at all, but more akin to a soccer-ish muscle spasm. There's a swish-and-flick that I'm rather fond of as well.
All of these are fine when my aloneness in the office is confirmed. And if the lights are out, that usually means no one has moved to keep them on, so that leaves me fairly comfortable in the belief I am alone. However, as I learned one fateful morning around 8:30, folks standing in the break room, which is nearly directly behind my desk (if you're me, facing my computer), aren't in the area affected by my motion sensors, and they can move about freely, observe my theatrics and not trip the lights at all.
I learned this as I was working diligently when the lights popped off, and I decided to try a new move. I would stand up & twirl like Maria Not-yet-Von Trapp atop a mountain. I stood. I twirled approximately 363°. I stopped facing my computer as the images my half-opened eyes had recorded mid-twirl were processed by my ego, and the embarassment producing centers of my brain weighed the data and decided on a course of action. A slow clapping arose behind me. A co-worker stood just inside the break-room with a stunned and triumphant look on his face, thinking he'd found something new with which to tease me about, in the semi-casual and friendly office environment that I so enjoy about my work place. Instinctive performance training took over and at the sound of applause, I turned and dipped a curtsy befitting any well-bred English maiden in a Jane Austen novel.
Or I would have dipped such a curtsey if my chair hadn't turned with me and turned my curtsy into an inelegant backwards fall into my chair, which reclined more than is generally prudent causing windmill arms and mumbled protestations that may or may not have included some less-than-mild language. There was laughter, and more applause, then I gave some jazz hands and a winning smile and turned my chair back to it's working position, faced my computer.
My co-worker left with his coffee, and not a word of this has been spoken... except now, and when I told the story to my husband, and maybe some other co-workers.  So, not exactly national-security type secret information.  Just so you know--you can retell the story too.  Feel free to embellish as you feel necessary. 

If this story makes it back to me by some third-party route and ends up with me standing on my chair, doing the Macarena (or Macarana... or whatever), and rotating my rolly chair about with Swiss-like precision, I'll award a prize...


JWelch said...

At Unisys, we used to have the same sort of thing. Lights would go off after we were still for a while. We all loved it. In fact, we'd try and move very slowly all night so as to keep the lights off.

Then one of my team mates found the sensitivity dial on the lights. He got up one night and turned all the lights in our section to the 'sensitivity of a brick with anger management issues' setting. We were in hog heaven. We could get up, go make dinner, come back, host a square dance, and land fighter jets - all in the dark.

Man, I loved that job.

Linnea said...

you should invite me to the next square dance...

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