While I was waiting for Jackie to finish berating a girl for not filling out a credit card slip properly, her phone rang.
“Hello. Can I help you?” Pause. “Oh, hi, Ron. Yes, it’s Sydney.” Pause. “Okay, hold on one second.” She put the phone down. “Ron wants to talk to you. You can take it over there.” Jackie pointed to a phone in the corner.
I wondered why he wanted to talk to me. I wondered how he knew that I was there, or if it had just been lucky timing. I hoped he wanted to see me again. I wouldn’t mind another $900. I walked over to the phone Jackie had pointed to and answered.
“Sydney. How are you?”
We chatted flirtatiously for a few minutes without any real purpose. At one point, I smiled and he exclaimed, “What a beautiful smile!”
“Oh yeah? How do you know?” He wasn’t there, after all, at his usual station behind the desk.
“I can see you.”
“You can see me? How?”
I turned around.
“See that curved thing in the corner? That’s a camera.”
I stared. I couldn’t believe I was being watched.
“Why do you have it?” I asked, trying to process the amount of surveillance taking place both inside and outside of the office.
“So I can sit here at home and keep on eye on everything.”
I was impressed and a bit terrified—yet another camera he had pointing at everything. He could watch the street outside the office, he could watch the doorway outside the building, he could watch the hallway, and now he could watch inside the office itself. This agency was so technologically hooked up. Hundreds of phone lines, all interconnected, countless cameras, monitoring every direction, and video displays reflecting everything else. I wondered how much was for security and how much was just Ron’s love of technological gadgets and his need to feel powerful.
I said goodbye, finished my paperwork, and made my way out of there. I now had made all the money I needed for a new apartment! Even better, I had done it on my own.