13/365: Clean Slate

January 13

Clean slate

Explore the room you’re in as if you’re seeing it for the first time. Pretend you know nothing. What do you see? Who is the person who lives there?


She walked into the room and all she could see were the potato heads. All 6 of them: Darth Tater, R2-Potat2, Spud-Bob Squarepants, Spud Lightyear, SpiderSpud, Trick-0r-Tater. Then she noticed the curtains on the windows, the plants spilling everywhere, and pictures…pictures of cows, kids, husbands, and sunsets. The bookshelf had a slew of water pistols, bubbles, and other knickknack games, not to mention a million books from the library on topics from software, to leadership, to instructional design. There was a bag of photo booth props: masks, boas, oversized sunglasses. There was a desk with two over-sized monitors and to the left, a laptop, and a Mac. There was a stick-on white board, and a cork board filled with papers, pictures, and calendars. Christmas lights still adorned the frame of the office window. There were shoes on the floor to be changed into after half-mile treks to the office. There was a box for recycling. There was a box of office decorations. There was a coat rack.

Just a few days ago, a colleague was in the office, fiddling with toys on the desk: the floppy disk coaster. He said, “You can’t help but walk in and want to play.” A faculty member last month wanted to take home about a dozen books off the book shelf. “But wait, you can’t take them…they are library books checked out in my name.” He wanted to touch and read all of them. Kids would come in, play, and not want to leave.

The office is a frenetic place—filled with chaos and a variety of textures, contents, and recipes. Walking into it, you are a bit overwhelmed. It invites you in and makes you question your purpose. It’s not your average office on a campus of higher education. It was grounded in the F.I.S.H. philosophyBe There. Play. Make Their Day. Choose Your Attitude.

The original office had a badminton net stretched across it.

Most of us spend a majority of our time in our offices at work. Walking into this office, you might actually forget it is work. The owner might be a bit psycho, but you’ll enjoy yourself until you find out.

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