We followed our friends to our rental car at the beginning our short vacation together, feeling a palpable sense of freedom and relaxation. The source of our contentment was easy to pinpoint: we weren’t in charge. While we had all chosen the destination and lodging together, another couple had rented the car and they would be doing the driving and navigating. As Paul and I climbed into the far back seats of the rented van, we felt as much like privileged children under the care of doting parents as any middle-aged people possibly could. We were so unburdened by responsibility that we were practically giddy.
All of which leads me to tell you about Francis Surman.
On our recent visit to Benano, Paul and I made a new friend — Alessandra. She’s looking forward to meeting our guests. She doesn’t speak a word of English, but that’s OK. I’ll give you a head start, and you can use sign language to complete your transaction. All you really need to know is that she sells wonderful homemade cheeses and homegrown legumes at her shop, which is just a stone’s throw from Rocca di Benano.
Until the open office revolution reared its ugly head, I never gave much thought to workspaces. Though unremarkable, my offices were always just fine.
And then Corporate America became besotted with the promised miracles of open offices. Without walls separating people, creativity would flow. Collaboration would flourish and we would be more productive. We kind of expected whiter teeth and smarter kids, too.