I’ve never been invited to the homes of any of my colleagues from work. There’s nothing fundamentally sinister about this; we’re just not that kind of group. No hidden agenda in operation; we just try to keep home and work compartmentalised. No suggestion that I’m Billy No-Mates in the office; we just all lead busy, separate lives––The lady doth protest too much methinks. (Ed.)
But, now, since the advent of online meetings on Microsoft Teams with everyone working from home, I have suddenly received a carte blanche invitation into the homes of all my fellow workers, several times each week.
It has been something of a revelation. Who knew that X had such a well-stocked drinks’ cabinet? I never would have guessed that Y lived in such a pleasant, leafy suburb. Who is the mysterious ‘other’ who only ever appears as a passing shadow in Z’s blurred-out background?
Of course, several of my compatriots go further than simply to blur the backdrop of their surroundings; there are a number of background effects in operation, including imported landscapes: images, which make them appear as though they are in their actual office at work; or in a swanky New York-style loft apartment; or empty, minimalist rooms, deliberately devoid of character. However, these attempts at subterfuge, only make me the more curious as to what their homes are really like? What have they got to hide? Huge wealth? Shaming poverty? Hideous décor? A hoarding problem? A sex dungeon? A massive stash of filched office supplies? One day, one of them will forget to switch on their background effects and all will be revealed.
Every MS Teams meeting finds me adopting the role of a Stacey Dooley or a Loyd Grossman––presenters of This Is My House and Through the Keyhole respectively (Ed.)––analysing the hidden meaning of the soft furnishings and choice of pictures to the exclusion of what is actually being discussed at the meeting.
And my own house? Could any of my office colleagues discover anything that I wouldn’t normally choose to reveal about my personality from an analysis of my own choice of home décor?
I think not.
© Simon Turner-Tree
Simon Turner-Tree defies analysis.