Is all this frivolous?
Photo from Weaselmcfee via flickr
Something very odd happened last week - and while it had nothing to do with my blog directly, it affected it nonetheless and got me to wondering and feeling a little blue. Here's what happened: My office spent the last two weeks moving into a new building - a huge step up from where we were located. The new place is beautiful and comes complete with ocean views for everyone - it's one of those office buildings that borders on glamorous, if an office building can be such a thing. The company I work for is small and has never invested much in its location or surroundings, preferring to return that money to its employees - not a bad philosophy. But there are some changes afoot, as the majority owner is selling all his stock and retiring.
With the move, all of us got much bigger offices than what we had before. We were told it would be fine for us to decorate our own offices - hang art, that type of thing - if we desired, since the company wasn't ready to spend that kind of money on such things. So I did just that and my office was beautiful - lovely art on the walls, a couple beautiful chairs brought in to complement my desk, a nice table with a lamp. All very warm and welcoming and tasteful and yes, professional looking. A couple people came by while I was finishing up and loved it, asking me if I would help them with their space, to which I said of course. I left feeling pleased with our company's new beginning in such a beautiful space, thinking what a joy it would be to work some place so warm and welcoming. That evening, I got a call telling me that while my office looked beautiful, it was "too nice" - and the company wasn't ready for that. I was told the company's philosophy has always been that decorating is frivolous and unnecessary and while people were initially encouraged to decorate, things had changed. I was basically told to undecorate (if there even is such a word) and to use the company's old chairs, etc., rather than the nicer ones I had brought in (their words). Stunned, I went straight to the office and dismantled everything, leaving basically an empty shell devoid of warmth and personality, but ultimately deemed more suitable.
Now, I am questioning why anyone would want things to look worse, not better. It was as though beauty frightened them and the only way this person knew how to deal with it was to be insulting and call it frivolous. There are times, certainly, when being surrounded by beauty is the least of your concerns, but is it really such a bad thing to add warmth and beauty to an environment you spend a large part of your time in? The whole ugly incident has left me with a bad taste in my mouth and every time I thought of my blog this past week, I could hear that voice in my head telling me I was being frivolous, so I let it sit. Is choosing to seek out beauty in all things frivolous? My instinct says no, it's part of my being, it's part of who I am. But sometimes I wish there was just a little less ugliness in the world, so it didn't seem like I was such a misfit.