Tuesday, 24 July 2012

The meaning of life...

For the last month of my time in London I worked for a company who's offices were just off Oxford St, my window overlooking an intersection and the entrance of one of London's biggest stores. Despite being on Oxford St and tolerating the shopping rush every afternoon as I fought my way towards Bond St Station, I enjoyed the location.

In the morning the street was wide and deserted, the only people present were workers like me, rushing to get to their computer screens in buildings overlooking the length and breadth of this infamous shopping strip, or shop assistants who landed the early shift and have to open in time for the inevitable onslaught of customers.
By lunchtime the crowds have arrived, but by then you were hungry so you'd become a woman on a mission. You knew the choice the area offered and so made a headlong dive for the nearest shop that will supply your stomach's desire today. With just a wallet in hand, it was easy to manoeuvre through the growing crowd and be out and back in minutes, allowing you to enjoy your hard earned lunch with the personal space your office desks provides.
The evenings were more dangerous though, for not only were you now juggling bags and coats and potentially umbrellas too, but your time was now your own and how you chose to spend it entirely between your conscience, your wallet and you. Oxford St is a dangerous street for it is the ultimate high street and if what the street doesn't stock, the departments stores thereupon are bound to stock.

However what made this particular office memorable was not its location, even when the Olympic torch passed beneath our very feet. Looking out of the third floor window perched within the glass projected corner of the office I recalled the imagery of the Permanent Assurance Company from Monty Python's Meaning of Life sailing through the big city as though the buildings had parted way for them alone. I don't recall why, but this singular imagery of the old Edwardian building, noble and silent in its purpose gliding down the deserted streets stuck with me throughout my month there and did something towards relieving any seriousness and drabness that can come with London office life. 

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