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A Window of One’s Own

Libi Astaire

Alas, after a while my window experienced a fate similar to most toys. No longer new, I barely gave it a glance. It therefore languished on the wall forgotten. Except for one day of the week. Friday.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

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T hey say New York is the city that never sleeps. Maybe that’s because there are so many windowless offices lurking behind those gleaming — — and sometimes crumbling — — Manhattan facades.

In that fluorescent-lit inner world of cubicles and fabricated walls, the light never changes. It could be a cloudy autumn morning or a moonlit summer night and you’d never know, because there’s only one setting: false bright. Although you could be sure the company’s top brass isn’t burrowing in one of those windowless, monotonous, artificially lit holes.

That was one of the reasons why I looked upon my new job as a window of opportunity, literally. Not only did I get a better title — — dDirector of mMarketing — — but my office had a window! A big one, too. To be honest, the view wasn’t much, just another aging office building across the way. But at last, I had a window of my own.

For the first month or so I treated my window like a new toy. While on the telephone talking to printers, I’d glance outside. Wow! Raindrops! (Or maybe just drips from the window air-conditioning unit on the floor above.) When taking a break from writing copy for a newsletter, I’d stand up and look through my window to the street below. Gee, look at all the people! (Hey, it’s not lunchtime. Where’s everybody going?) It was a fascinating experience to be at work and yet still connected to the outside world.

Alas, after a while my window experienced a fate similar to most toys. No longer new, I barely gave it a glance. It therefore languished on the wall forgotten. Except for one day of the week.

Friday.

I suppose it was bashert that I met my window when I was considering becoming more “Jewish.” At that point my internal debate revolved around whether or not to light Shabbos candles. I knew enough to know the candles had to be lit at a certain time: 18 minutes before sunset. I also knew that since it was winter and the afternoons were short, it would be dark by the time I got home. So on Friday afternoons, while doing my work, my gaze would be drawn, whether I wanted or not, to my window. I’d witness the slow change from pale wintry afternoon light to mysterious dusk to the finality of night, knowing that once again the opportunity to do this one mitzvah was gone.

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