Having a view, and a viewpoint, to no avail

By Chuck Sigars | Nov 07, 2012

Back when I had a real job, with a real employer and a real office to go to, with real human beings with whom to interact and a real parking space to park in, I had a notion.

“I could work from home,” I suggested, which from this perspective sounds an awful lot like a movie conversation between two guys who could combine their IQs and stay safely in double digits. “We could rob a bank!” they say, and we all know how it ends.

And we know how my story ends, or at least I can tell you. I started to work from home, and inertia being what it is I never stopped. I was 30 years old then. I’m much older now.

Newton’s Fourth Law of Motion, which I am making up, states unequivocally that a body in motion will stop being in motion once it doesn’t have to be at work by 7 a.m.

Also, it will develop holes in its socks, this body, because it never wears shoes. It does wear sweatpants, though. A lot.

For most of my adult life, then, I’ve been in solitary confinement, just an observer, not a participant. It can be done, but there’s a price to pay and it’s not all about socks. Social skills get rusty, regular haircuts get iffy, and long-term relationships are formed with people who deliver packages for a living.

And windows get very, very important.

Windows, to someone at home all day, become like little openings in walls in which glass is placed, through which this someone can see outside. I really can’t explain it any better than that.

Those walls start to close in if I can’t see outside, in other words, but sometimes basic ergonomics get in the way. Working on a computer all day, there are issues with glare, for one thing.

So being industrious and also a little paranoid, I had this great idea to install a couple of cheap webcams on my windowsill. On a second monitor, then, I can see the real world, just like windows.

One of them shows the street in front of my house, from which I become the security guard for the neighborhood. Do you walk in front of my house every day? Do you walk your dog? Do you neglect to pick up your dog’s offerings to the community? Because I KNOW.

The other one points at my front door, just being practical. I can see my best friend from UPS as he or she walks up the steps, giving me time to run a comb through my hair and practice my latest charming anecdote.

And if someone I don’t know approaches the door, well, I can see that, too.

Aside from sounding suspiciously like more paranoia, which I’m actually a little paranoid about, it makes sense, doesn’t it? You might want to know who’s at your door before you open it. Of course.

You’d wonder if someone came to your door, say, with a bag over his head (it depends, of course; if it happened to be a canvas, reusable bag, then maybe not). You want to know who’s invading your privacy, ringing your bell, interrupting your dinner.

Which also applies to our phones, although some of us can remember when we just answered the thing, having no idea who was on the other end. Seems barbaric now, but those were the old days.

So when my cellphone rang the other day, and the number was blocked, it should have been an easy decision. Still, I was curious, and a little bored, so I answered. And I hit the jackpot.

“Is there a registered voter in this household?” Yup, absolutely. Speaking.

“Is this a cellphone, and do you have another phone in the house, a landline?” Yes, and no.

“Would you be willing to answer a few questions for a survey?”

Would I? WOULD I? I’ve only waited my entire life. Of course I’m willing. I’m about to be polled!

I’ll admit to being excited. I’m a high-information voter (not to be confused with a highly intelligent voter). I read a lot, I follow the issues, I know the positions. I can name all nine Supreme Court justices and their approximate ages, which I know because that’s what I did the other night when I couldn’t sleep.

This qualifies me for nothing, other than possibly vice president, but you get my drift. I was ready to express my opinion.

“Do you or anyone in your household work for a campaign, a television or radio station, or a newspaper?”

Well, no. I don’t. Technically. Then again, technical is sort of what Bill Clinton pulled out of his verbal arsenal in an attempt to suggest that he and Monica Lewinsky were just good friends. That’s not exactly a comfortable thought in a general election year.

So I remain unpolled, unheard and insignificant, but at least I can sleep at night, with the help of the Supreme Court.

You and your dog, on the other hand, might have some ethical issues to address. From what I can see from my window, I mean.

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