Louise Downe

Locating the unfamiliar

Entering a corporate building you've never been in is always slightly odd.

Every component of the place - from the size of the name space in the sign-in book, to the direction of the door handles - seems significant.

Small procurement decisions seem to form a pattern of accidental iceberg-tips that you're sure, given enough time/knowledge/certainty, would map to some larger structure within.

Or maybe I spend too much time in other peoples offices.

Either way, last week I repeatedly turned the lights off in a large call centre in Peterlee.

I hit (as many do) a light switch I thought was a door release. At that moment, though the lights were out, I was the most visible thing in the room. Stranger. Person in need of assistance.

Unschooled in how to operate the building, I fell into its traps, several times. Each time, someone quickly came to restore normality, turning the lights back on and asking me if I needed help/escorting from the premises.

It was a very efficient way of finding me. An unfamiliar object in the midst of the familiar.