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Looking Down

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If, like me, you find yourself walking around with your head down, you find yourself observing a great deal of flooring.

And if you’re like me, you think to yourself while observing that flooring, wondering what criteria went into making the decision that ultimately chose that flooring.

As I’ve said before, I’ve got about a 7 minute walk from car to desk at work and vice-versa, and I traverse several different flooring types. We have the industrial patented Non-Slipperie® tile-like floor covering, scientifically designed to look classy, yet generic, all while not killing anyone who walks on it.

Then we have the carpet you find all over all three buildings, laid down in tedious adhesive 18″ squares, which, I’m sure, was a task given to the interns on the construction project. It’s carpet that you wouldn’t notice unless it was actually under your feet, providing a bare minimum of padding over bare concrete floor alone.

There are the industrial tile floors of the bathrooms, also scientifically designed to be clean and somewhat dirty all at the same time, just so that you can’t tell whether that spot in the corner is where the cleaning staff haven’t been for a couple of weeks, or whether it’s just the tile doing its thing.

But then, in some common areas of each building, is a special carpeting, unique to each building, meant either to make building mates feel a special kinship, or somehow transmit messages directly into our heads. This carpet is in the hallways outside of the bathrooms, and in the common area in the elevator bays. Each, I’m certain, has its own story and purpose. And I shall offer my theories for those here.

First, the north tower.


This is the tower closest to the parking ramp. These people are the slackers, coddled in their existence so that they don’t have to travel far from their Prius’ and leather upholstered SUVs. And this carpet reflects that in a neat, orderly design that almost lulls one to sleep while still begging you to wonder why the hell it isn’t a constant pattern? It’s like each row was designed by some eight year old who hadn’t gotten their Ritalin for that day and each stopped listening to directions at a different point.

I really hope there are a lot of engineers in this building. Because this carpet must drive them nuts. There isn’t even a way to express this pattern mathematically.

On to the central tower:


This one really leaves me scratching my head. On the one hand, I see a lot of block letters, which makes me wonder if this is designed to be a Rohrshach test for cubist typographers, or if there’s some secret message in there, telling them to sell more product and work more hours to do so. On the other hand, I see this design as just a random geometric design that just happened to come out looking like a set of miscast type slugs. But if that’s the case, then how did the designer not notice? Or did the carpet layers just punt it on this one and not find the right pattern to match the seams up to?

I’ve got it, the message has become clear: “keep having meetings!”

Finally, the south tower, my home away from home:


Why yes, three floors of this building are devoted to some IT operation or another, how can you tell? Someone stopped, looked at the options and said: “yeah, reminds me of that…what was it? Dot matrix thing? That’s a thing, right?” I keep wondering that if I were to get far enough away from the actual dots that I’d be able to make out a sepia-toned halftone pattern, possibly of Hitler clubbing a seal or maybe the Mario Brothers.

Or worse yet, it would be a halftone of the damned pattern from the central tower. Great. Every day, I wait for an elevator while standing on a giant “F.” That’s a metaphor for something, right?

You can offer up your thoughts or remarkable findings in our flooring. Go ahead. It’ll give me something to wonder about while I’m walking to my next meeting on it.

See you tomorrow.