Thursday, July 2, 2009

Piece of history

Thirteen--or possibly fourteen--years ago, I remember hearing my parents' voices drift up from the basement. They were up to something, and there was a sheet-covered lump which I was instructed not to look at in the corner room of the basement. I was actually a pretty obedient child; I didn't look. I was also the sort of child to be delighted with something perhaps not many other children would be so delighted by: a desk of my very own complete with a matching chair. In retrospect, I think it may have also had a lamp with a swively neck, but it's been long gone.

It was a simple, small affair, white top, black metal legs and shelves underneath. It wasn't much, but it was mine, and I got quite a bit of use out of it. For years, I did my homework on it--the last of elementary school, the bit of middle school I did under my mother's tutelage, and the high school I did through correspondence. In the high school years, I think, I moved my desktop PC onto it, still getting quite a bit of use out of it. High school became community college, which led to university and grad school. Still my desk was there, ready for use. I eventually moved the tower to the floor, leaving some room to sprawl my papers out as I worked. At the end of grad school, I got a laptop, conserving more space and allowing for greater sprawl and spreading out of papers, both my own and those of the students I was beginning to teach. Grad school ended, I continued teaching, quit teaching, then went back to teaching, and I did a bulk of my prep work and grading at that same desk I got as a child.

And mind, it is a child's desk. My knees haven't fit comfortably under it for a long time, resulting in some not-so-pleasant knocks if I got up too fast, and the scant cushion on the chair has long worn thin. I've been thinking for a while to upgrade to a larger, sleeker model. I made up my mind to do so, changed it, and reversed course yet again. I half-heartedly skimmed ads and perused floor models when I saw them. Nothing shrieked at me, so I let it go.

Until today. I found a desk worthy of my patronage. The chair isn't the first one I fell in love with, but it's cushier than the old one by far. I hope I get a good 13 (or 14) years out of this one too. And I also hope, given that there's a lot of life still in that old, small desk, that someone else will love it as I have.

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