Having a workshop in a storage facility is an interesting experience. Overhearing conversations is all right, but what I find most fascinating is how everyone seems to avoid acknowledging each other. It’s strange.
When I get to my workshop, I open the door — it’s like a garage door — and then I step inside and close the door behind me. I hang the lock in the slot on the rails where the bolt fits so that I can’t get accidentally locked in. Once inside, I turn on all the lights. There’s one ceiling light but it’s really only bright enough to help me find the lamps I brought in, of which there are four. That’s still not quite enough lighting.
After that, I change my clothes. I brought in an old area rug to stand on while I change. I like that the door is closed for this. Once changed, I put some music on. I keep the volume quite low, much lower than I would like.
While working away today, I couldn’t help but notice how many conversations were taking place outside of my allotted space. There was a constant stream of vehicles coming in and out, too. I did hear one person introduce himself, there was another couple of guys who were inquiring about renting a space, and some guy was on the phone every few minutes. His ringtone is a foghorn.
When I leave to go to the washroom, I lock the door behind me. Along the way, I pass by a guy who’s been there every time I have. I keep an eye out, looking for an opportunity to say hi. He continued on as if completely alone. Near the washroom, there was a guy — I’ve not seen one woman at this place — who was pulling tools out of his truck. I walked by him, three feet away, and he went about his business as if I wasn’t there. Another guy had to navigate around me as we were walking toward each other in a hallway. He didn’t look up from his phone. While leaving, those two dudes who rented the space, I’m assuming, were unloading their truck. They seemed to actively avoid looking up and in my direction. They even stopped their conversation as I was passing.
I don’t quite understand it. For my part, I try to keep the noise down while working. Of course, I do make some noise, but I keep my music low and try to avoid making too much of a racket while working away. I don’t want to be “found out,” I think, in that, I don’t want people to become curious about what I’m doing. I simply want to be left well enough alone in my space.
In the common areas, however, I feel compelled to acknowledge the presence of someone else if I see them. I’m not going to say anything, but I will most certainly nod a hello. I’m curious about what other people are doing, but only because I think people do interesting things.
It must be that people go to the storage warehouse to be alone. Maybe we’re aware that we can be heard and don’t want to be seen making noises to avoid confirmations of assumptions. It could also be that we’re all just puckered-up assholes, trying not to let our shit out.
Originally published at https://www.bernardwalter.com on August 30, 2023.