A few rules before we get started with the tour: No sudden movements, no sneezing, no wobbling the Hoveroffice back and forth. This building can, and nearly has, toppled over, all eleven stories. Hence the Nerf ball architecture.
Welcome to the world’s first state-of-the-art, self-balancing Hoveroffice. We consist of exactly 128 professionals, all atop their own hoverboards, working in synergistic harmony in a building attached to a massive, gyroscopic wheel. If one of us calls in sick, someone else has to work from home. If someone uses the restroom, someone else has to hover to the coffee pot to make up for the balance disproportion. It probably seems impossible to you folks, who still depend on feet for locomotion, but when you hover for twelve hours a day, five days a week, you become a phantom appendage of your colleagues’ rhythms.
No pictures please. Group photos shift the equilibrium too suddenly, and the sales team on nine has to scramble into a conference room to steady the ship.
The beauty of the Hoveroffice is that we pay no rent since we’re mobile. We have no bosses as they throw off the symmetry. We arrive and depart together. We can happen upon any street, plug in to an electrical socket, and begin our day’s work. We can pilot the Hoveroffice to the beach and swim on our lunch break if we feel like it.
Folks say we’re showing off, that a motorized, balanced office is ostentatious. But they’ve never experienced the cohesiveness of Greg instinctively shifting his weight to the back of his chair to correct the imbalance Tricia creates when she slouches to play Solitaire. Or how when Ray returns from vacation overweight, the interns each pack on an extra pound to offset his torque.
Unfortunately, most people, when they see our building hover by during the morning commute, develop the urge to physically harm us. The mere sight of our lithium-ion powered edifice sends them into a rage, causing them to exit vehicles and hurl their breakfast at our sleek Hoveroffice. They shake the Hoveroffice. That’s why we set up here, in the parking lot of this abandoned shopping mall, and run power cords to the gas station. See, Hoveroffices are the future, a holistic approach to the corporate workplace. People who still walk to work at traditional, stationary offices can never comprehend our communal philosophy – our hoverniquess, if you will.
Can you feel that? We’re listing slightly. It’s undetectable to you bipedal hominoids, but the Hoveroffice never lies. It’s subtle, but eight floors down, one of the interns is trying to loosen a Snickers bar in the vending machine. Colleagues are performing jumping jacks to atone for the candy tantrum, but the exercise cannot counteract the intern’s thumping which is growing hungrier, angrier, ever heartier as the vending machine refuses to relinquish the snack. Think of it—the majesty of all this technology, the existence of each of us, hovering on the slightness of a chocolate stick.
Jon Methven is the author of the novels Strange Boat (2016) and This Is Your Captain Speaking (2012). His work has been published in The New York Times, The Atlantic, McSweeney’s, Buzzfeed and The Awl. He lives in New York with his wife and sons. www.jonmethven.com