“Pfffft,” I said. (OK, I only said that part in my head.) “No thank you. I don’t have a desk to put one on.”
One of the unexpected dilemmas about working from home is that I no longer have a proper desk.
There is a room in my house that is set up as an office. It has a built-in desk, courtesy of the homeowners before us. But it is built-in at an awkward height, so that you either have to use it standing up, or perched on a barstool.
Plus the desk itself is taken up by a big desktop computer, which now moves at the processing speed of molasses because it’s filled up with thousands of photos and videos. Plus the operating system hasn’t been updated since 2005.
Rather than deal with all of that, I just bought a laptop.
I love the laptop. I can use it on the couch, in the easy chair, at the dining table, at Starbucks.
But none of those places are a desk.
I could stack papers on the coffee table, but then I’d just have a really messy coffee table that I couldn’t shut the door to hide when people came to visit.
I could stack papers on the dining table, but then we couldn’t eat at it. (Oh, who am I kidding? We haven’t eaten at the dining table in months.) No, the real problem with working at the dining table is the dining chairs. They are antiques. They are rickety. I have to use very good posture if I sit in them.
It’s much more comfortable sitting on the couch to work, although for some reason I don’t seem to get as much done.
I really need some sort of filing system. I brought home three big boxes of stuff after cleaning out my desk at the office. There were story ideas I never got around to writing, contacts I never got around to filing, notebooks filled with old interview notes — and fan mail. (Never, ever throw away fan mail.)
There were also dozens of photographs of and artwork by my children. I loved being surrounded by these at the office, but it feels a little obsessive to put them up at home.
After seven weeks of working from the couch, my filing system looks like this:
• Scraps of paper I need today: Tucked underneath the laptop (aka, the most expensive paperweight ever).
• Papers and notebooks I need this week: Stuffed in the laptop bag (which would be the perfect portable office if only it had room for my favorite coffee mug).
• Computer documents: On flash drive, in bottom of purse (not to be confused with flash drive in coin purse, which contains family photos).
• Files and papers I don’t need right away but know I will eventually: Stacked precariously on the corner of the built-in desk nearest the litterbox. (Wait, that’s not going to end well, is it?)
Two of the boxes I brought home from the office are still stacked in a corner. They’re full. I have no idea what’s in them.
I’m glad spring is almost here, because I’ve decided the solution is to transport my home office out onto the porch. I think I’ll work much more efficiently out there — just like in those Corona commercials.