Office Space - Guest blog by Joseph P.

Once again I am thrilled to have Joseph Powell as my guest blogger! You all enjoyed his writing as much as I did, and his guest blog is in the top 3 most visited posts. His website was recently updated, and I'm officially in love - be sure to check it out. And now, enjoy his words, his wit, his wisdom, and his beautiful work!

Somebody knocked on my door a few weeks ago and wanted to know if I had a screwdriver. Aside from the fact that my first thought was whether or not I had orange juice, it made me realize something. In the nearly eight years that I have lived here, that's maybe the fourth time a neighbor has knocked on my door. For anything.

I live in the middle of downtown Denver. Living here was appealing to me because I could walk most places, access bars and restaurants easily, and I worked two blocks away. I did look at Wash Park (It's really Washington Park, but you can't just say that out loud) and it was a little too...well, it wasn't for me. I drove by there one weekend and there were so many thirty-something couples with strollers and labradoodles that I thought there was a Pinot Grigio giveaway going on.
I moved into this building when I transferred here with my company. During a break in the interview process, I walked up the street and found this spot only two blocks away. It was built in 1890 and its exterior is a combination of Renaissance Revival and Richardsonion Romanesque styles, which means that it has some stained glass and curved windows. It spent nearly a century serving the citizens of Denver as a stock company as well as a medical office building. In 1998 it was converted into lofts. And by 'converted into lofts' I mean divided up into apartments. As you know, any living space with a pipe running through it is now a 'Loft', even if it's on the ground floor. Those are the rules.

My space is 680 square feet.

I say 'space' because that's what everyone calls it. “What great space you have”. “What fantastic space.” I'm not complaining. It has very high ceilings, four huge windows and has a very 'artsy' feel to it. It feels much larger than it is. It's comfortable and feels good to be in. It has exposed brick and holes in the cement. I've made it my own with my artwork and casual style, which looks a lot like what I would imagine Crate and Barrel to be if Tim Burton were the CEO. It's perfect for me. But in a way, I've failed it.

The whole point of living downtown is to be involved in the world around you. I can walk to a professional baseball, basketball or football game. I can attend plays and shows at the second largest performing arts center in the US, which is just two blocks away. I can attend concerts. I can watch parades, walks, protests and marathons from my living room as well as make eye contact with people attending a board meeting in the bank across the street from my bedroom while I'm hopping up and down on one foot in my underwear trying to put a sock on. I just don't do as many of those things that I should. I do some. I'll let you guess.

I'm not shy or withdrawn or anything like that, but I enjoy my alone time. I tend to keep to myself when I'm not out working and when I'm working at home this place is, ironically, fairly secluded. I don't even know my typically young neighbors by their names. I see them in the hall and recognize them by sight. I know the Hollister Store that lives downstairs and the SNL skit across the hall who likes to leave notes on my door suggesting that I medicate Bentley because he barked once while he was sleeping. I love that guy. There's Cirque de Minaj. He or she lives up a floor. Right below me is American Express. I call him that because he owns more clothing and fragrance than anyone I have ever seen. Riding in the elevator with him is like being teargassed at Saks.
The point! At least my digression skills are sharp. The point is that I love my place and it's productive for me, even though it's small. I have a narrow desk in my bedroom that I use and which contains materials and supplies, mailing labels, business cards, DVDs, etc. It also supports a large monitor that I use to edit portrait and commercial work. Sometimes I work at the kitchen counter and occasionally I work on the sofa. I don't need the routine. I just need to know how my flow goes. That's right. Joe needs to flow. I might be working at four AM with no lights on so it's important that I don't have to think too hard about the process.

I am not really overwhelmed with organization and yet organization is everything. I know where it is if I need to get to it. What I do have is a living arrangement that works for me personally and professionally, which I think is a very important part of working. It isn't about obsession. I'm not one of those people who “can't cook if the kitchen isn't spotless.” Goodness. I'd never cook if that were the case. I'm just one of those people that likes to feel at peace with my environment.

About a year ago, I had gotten up at about five and it was freezing cold, so I put on some wool socks. I started putzing around in the kitchen, emptied the dishwasher. Brrr. Grabbed my bathrobe and put it on for warmth. I put some music on, as I often do when I clean. I bagged up the trash and realized I'd need shoes to take it to the chute down the hall. No shoes. I squeezed my socked feet into a pair of flip-flops.

It's important that I tell you that I edit quite a bit of video for projects. So, the search for decent and affordable royalty-free music is always on and I download a lot of weird stuff to my ipod for inspiration.

I grabbed the trash, opened the door and there was a group of about five, twenty-something, well dressed and attractive people standing in front of the elevator.

I was wearing:

Daffy Duck boxer shorts

A Westin Heavenly bathrobe

Wool socks with flip-flops

A t-shirt that said “Hello, my name is Queen of the #!$@&%*! Universe”

And holding a bag of trash while blaring out of the ipod was “You light up my life” by Debbie Boone.


Probably be another year before somebody knocks on my door again.

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