Usable Space Series, Part 1: Office space

No this is not a running commentary on the hilarious movie from 1999 in which ill fated coworkers decide upon the timely demise of one of their electronic work counterparts, but rather, an introspection on the potential for places in the urban realm to have a capacity for more than the use they are specified for. 

Take a city bus for example – people use it to get from place to place – and yes, it takes time to do so, you can’t just hop in a car at the moment you leave your doorstep to whisk yourself away to the office, you have to time it to when the bus will show up – hope it shows up on time – and then let it truck you around town to other various destinations until you finally reach a stop near your destination.  Then get out and walk.  (Walking, by golly, I’ve been wondering what those long things attached to my hips were for.)

Many of us are cognizant that a ride on the bus offers a perfect opportunity to take advantage of some free time to read a book, people watch, or just sit in a sleepy stupor ’til you reach your destination.  But one day, not too long ago, I was riding the bus to my former place of employment and an opportunity unfolded itself right in front of me.  First, it was the realization that I was forced to sit on the bus for half an hour.  Without an opportunity to be distracted by the dishes piling up in the kitchen or the laundry beckoning me from the dungeon (if you want to know where Jimmy Hoffa really is, I suspect he’s buried in the defunct cistern located in the crawl space beneath my kitchen floor).  I didn’t have a toddler tugging at my pant leg or making the milk sign with her fists as if she were yet again making a beverage request from her human dairy bar.  This was ME time –  and I no longer had any excuses not to write.  And my pen started to scrawl relentlessly across the page.

I started to think of the manner in which coffee shops and libraries are used as impromptu workstations or meeting places and the potential of the bus glaring me in the face as I jumped into my new writing life.  A quick consultation online with Metro Transit’s schedule and I would be on my way riding along the mobile workstation,  for the cheap price of $1.75 ($2.25 rush hour).  Way less than the price of a coffee at the local Starbucks where I would have to make important decisions, such as free trade this or shade grown that, impacting the global economy and welfare of people in far off places.  I could cruise around the metro gathering ideas for my work from the world around me.  I wouldn’t have to continue to sit in isolation, stifled inside the four walls of my home.  Just think of the unlimited journey potential in store with the vast network of bus lines connecting me to the greater metro area.  And I could do so for up to 2-1/2 hours on one rider fare!  The coworking rental office spaces popping up around town could only wish to boast such an economical rate. 

Soon I envision that people will hold work meetings on the bus – say, “so and so, I’ll catch the 50 at the corner of Fairview and University at 10:20 on Friday of x day of x month, and when  you join me at your stop at Dale, we can discuss the latest proposal you have for xxx project.”  To avoid confusion with busses running late, each bus would have a conference room number displayed on the electronic display to ensure would be ‘mobile meeters’ they were boarding the correct on-the-go conference room.  The inward facing seats at the front of the bus would be appropriate for multiple person meetings, the long backseat coupled with the inward facing adjacent seats for a larger sized discussion, and the two seaters for a confidential one on one.  You would eliminate late arrivals, because everyone would now have to be on time – lest they risk the dreaded ‘I missed the bus’ loop of child star rapper group ‘Kris Kross’  from the early ’90’s. The opportunity for feedback would depend on the ‘clientele’ surrounding you – whether it be the sleeping beauties who have had a bit too much to drink on a late night outing or perhaps on a journey during the day with someone taking advantage of  the bus as a short term solution to stay warm in the frigid Minnesota winters.  Call it ‘audience participation’.  Heck, you may even hear from that one loud talker in the back who always thinks his business is so important that everyone else on the bus must hear what he has to say  – though don’t expect him to let you get a word in edgewise…

So take the opportunity, grab your favorite gear – be it pencil and paper, or the latest ‘I’-gadget – hop the bus, and see the stories unfold around you. 

~urban wanderlust

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~ by urbanwandernlust on November 17, 2010.

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