We are on the hunt for new office space. This should not be a difficulty, as one thing that Prague has plenty of is available office space. Construction companies build and build but then owners sit on empty space, unwilling to lower their prices for fear of a market slide in per meter square pricing.
My company is small and we can’t afford the expensive new offices in glass buildings; we’re also picky, so we turn down the spaces that remind us of boxes lined in synthetic carpet. We're looking for something with a personality, something we’d want to spend most of our lives in, and show off to our clients. We must be driving our realtors crazy with our requests, but it is the fourth office they have found for me in seven years, and their British unflappability handles our idiosyncracies well.
Our last building of the day is in the middle of downtown, in the middle of construction and tourists and the business of the city. Half of the building is empty and ruined and curtains hang in rags behind the windows of the flat I peer into. But the central staircase is beautiful and when we enter the office we fall in love with the ceilings that arc over head, the parquet floors, marble fireplace, and glass chandeliers. The largest room is the size of a ballroom, lovely and massive. No one even asks about the air conditioning or per monthly utility costs, we simply start casting bids for the coolest office of all, the one with the panelled ceiling and wooden columns, clearly the home of the former company’s president. His shoe scuffs stain the parquet, and turned to the front window, a last palm tree stands, now dust and brown.
We imagine the floors polished, the fireplace unblocked, the walls freshly painted and our own palms and rubber tree plants taking the place of the dessicated tree. I look out the front windows to see the view - a beautifully painted art nouveau facade from the first floor to the sky, casino at ground level, McDonald's to our right and KFC just down the street - Prague in all its paint and glory.
Sadness at Cattle Creek
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