Fake Work Camera

Would you behave differently if you knew your every move was being recorded by a camera?  Unless you are a Kardashian, the only honest answer here is probably “yes.”  I now know for a fact that this is true for me.

In my building at work, there are cameras.  On the first floor, at each door, and facing down each hallway.  Ever mindful of the eye in the sky, I am always on my best behavior down there.

In the stairwell, however, there are no cameras, so this is where I let loose.  Sprint up the stairs (usually late), jump the last three, hoot and holler, make hand gestures, you know, whatever I need to do.

For a long time, this is how it went.  Prim and proper walking in the door, crazy in the stairs, doing whatever I want in the hall outside my office.

Until one day, I noticed, down at the end of the hall, on my floor, an ominous black box hanging from the ceiling in the same spot that the cameras hang on the first floor.  “Oh no,”  I thought.  “There is a camera on this floor too.”  I quickly started to panic, racing through my mind, thinking back on the crazy shenanigans I had pulled in the halls: jumping up to touch the ceiling, dancing, checking my watch, leering, more hand signals.  I didn’t know who watched these cameras.  I was seriously freaking out!

But you can’t look back, only forward.  So I endeavored to be on my best behavior in all hallways always.  The stairwell was my only refuge.

And it went like this for some time.  Months and months.  Sometimes I would catch myself doing something zany in the hallway, and would have to get myself in check.

But then one day, for whatever reason, I happened to be down at the far end of the hall, and I looked up…and discovered that the third floor camera is not a camera at all, but just an “Exit” sign from the side-view.  Phew!  You have no idea how relieved I was.  Back to third-floor hallway zaniness.

Sometimes, still, I will catch myself checking myself when entering the third-floor hallway in fear of my antics being recorded by the non-existent third-floor camera.  Old habits die hard, I guess.  But it made me think.  How different do we act when we know a camera is recording/someone is watching?  Would we all answer that question the same?  And what does our answer say about us?

13 thoughts on “Fake Work Camera

  1. I almost always run up stairs, camera or no camera. Unless I’m ascending those stairs with someone, then I am forced to go at their pace.

    These hand gestures you speak of have me intrigued. What sort of hand gestures does one make in a vacant stairwell? Please expound.

    I am sure that if I worked in an office with cameras at every turn, the worry about my on-camera behavior would give me an ulcer. Yet another reason to be satisfied with my career as a stay-at-home mom.

    • Well, I spent some time in Italy, and they have a hand gesture for just about everything. I borrow heavily from those.

      There are hand gestures of exultation when I am leaving. Hand gestures of bitterness upon arrival. Hand gestures directed at other people (that I probably should not expound upon here). A little bit of everything.

      I don’t worry that much. I usually do what I want and figure, worst case, it will give whoever watches those something to laugh about. We all deserve something.

  2. I am quite curious about these hand gestures. You say there are gestures for everything? Good and bad?

    Laughter is good. You are so kind and giving. I’m sure those watching are truly appreciative.

  3. You could always quit your job and become a clown. You’d have to learn how to make balloon animals.

    Okay, maybe not. We all know clowns are frightening. Right?

  4. Glad you are laughing. Problem is, I could never be a clown. I’m too scared of loud noises. Clowns are surrounded by balloons. Balloons inevitably pop. Loud, popping balloons would be enough to make me cry. Crying clowns are not funny clowns. It’s just not the path for me.

  5. Ya’ll need to quit clowning around and get back to work! Argh. Just the word ‘clown’ makes me shudder.

    Thanks a lot, Dunce Two. Now I have wonderful mental pictures of your hallway shenanigans in my brain to look at during those most inappropriate times to laugh. You know – like when someone is telling a long drawn-out story of their aunt’s hip surgery and your mind unwittingly wanders… You think of something hilarious and look like an uncaring idiot when you start giggling as they state their aunt is in the ICU.

    What? You’ve never done that? Hmph… why don’t I believe you?

    Another thing I have to thank you for: I have Rockwell’s song, “I always feel like somebody’s watching me” in my head. Somebody please Make. It. Stop.

    • I get crazy, I’m not kidding. Probably crazier than even what you are imagining. At home with my kids, I get even crazier, especially if my wife is not around. The music is loud, the dance moves are kickin’. Buck wild!!!

      And I TOTALLY do that. I take distraction and inappropriate thought-processes to whole new levels.

      Can’t help you with the song, I’m afraid. Unless…


      Maybe not an improvement, but catchy and distracting. Now for getting THAT song out of your head, you are on your own.

      Another song that reminds me of that era is:


      I’m not sure why. Hope it helps!

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