As I think I've mentioned a couple times before, I work in a weird space. Instead of a purpose-built office building, my department does its thing in what used to be a family mansion, complete with an anaemic Stockbroker Tudor turret running up one side.
My corner of the mansion is up in the attic, under the dormers. This office was carved out of what had been a single, large room running the full depth of the house from north to south. I suspected it to be, and have since learned that it was, a dormitory for the female household staff.
What I'd not been able to figure out until recently is why my part of the room is elevated. The desk, file cabinet, and everything else perch on a deep platform about eight inches higher than the rest of the space. As 19th century domestic life is one of my fascinations, I spent a lot of odd moments mulling this over. I confirmed that there was no structural reason for the platform– no beams or ductwork concealed beneath.
I wondered if, for some hierarchical reason, one of the maids was given a bed higher than the others. But that seemed absurd, and I'd never heard of any such arrangement. Especially in the United States, parlormaids were parlormaids. The butler and housekeeper for this family had their own bedrooms on this floor (hers with a window onto the stairs, so she could monitor comings and goings).
And then all became clear when I was rummaging through the archives and found a program from an event that took place here decades ago. At that time, I learned, the building housed the religious center. And the large room in the attic was the chapel.
Every day I come into work and sit on the altar.
Now the question I mull over in odd moments is whether this makes me a God or a Sacrfice. Given the working conditions around here, I suspect the latter.