Saturday, July 07, 2007

A place to write

Linguist Friend and I have a habit of beneficently nagging one another, saving our respective significant others the trouble of bothering us about things we really should take care of.

I've been bothering him about going to the doctor and writing scholarly papers recently. His topic has been a little more benign.

I need a desk.

Law school* is less than two months away at this point and the desk in my home office is still an old crappy one of my brother's that I hate and never use as more than a surface to stack papers. (I'm typing this blog post into a laptop as I sit crosslegged on the bed.)

LF has been bringing my lack of desk up for at least his last two visits. And I've been looking at craigslist and the occiasional office supply store.

In the last week, I have gotten serious about it and have been looking far more agressively.

I have probably looked at several dozen desks in person and a hundred online. No used desk has been what I'm looking for. The old ones (from before the age of computers) are too small and the used new ones are too fugly.

And I hate pressboard.

I'm realizing the desk I really want is Blue van Meer's desk from Marisha Pessl's brilliant novel Special Topics in Calamity Physics:

...But as I pushed open the bedroom door at the top of the stairs and walked into the large blue walled room covered in pastoral oil paitings, giant windows along the far wall blistered with bubble curtains, I discovered not a rare, underground edition of Wie schafft man ein Masterwerk or The Step-by-Step Manual For Crafting Your Magnum Opus, but, astonishingly, my old Citizen Kane desk pushed into the corner by the window. It was the real thing, elephantine, walnut, Renaissance revival library table I'd had eight years ago at 142 Tellwood Street in Wayne,Oklahoma.

Daddy had found the desk at the Lord and Lady Hillier Estate Sale just outside of Tulsa, to which antiques wheeler-and-dealer June Bug, Pattie 'Let's Make a Deal' Lupine, had dragged Dad one stuffy Sunday afternoon. For some reason, when Dad saw the desk (and the five struggling Armies it took to get it on the auction platform,) he saw me and only me presiding over it (Though I was only eight with a wingspan less than half its length). He paid a huge, undisclosed amount for it and announced with great flourish that this was 'Blue's desk,' a desk 'worthy of my little Eve of St. Agnes, upon which she will unmask all the great ideas...'

...And then, rather anticlimactically, I was only able to unmask great idea in Wayne, because we weren't able to take the desk with us to Sluder, Florida-something to do with the mover (the falsely advertised 'You CAN Take It With You Moving Co.') being unable to fit it in the van. I shed ferocious tears and called Dad a reptile when we had to leave it, as if it wasn't just an oversized table with elaborate talon legs and seven drawers requiring seven individual keys, but a black pony I was abandoning in the barn..."

Yep, that's the desk I want.

But it's extremely expensive. And fictional.

So far, I haven't had much luck. Neither of the estate sales I went to this morning were those of an elderly doctor, lawyer or perhaps detective who shuffled off this mortal coil just in time for me to buy his handsome if scratched olddesk from an irresponsible nephew selling it cheaply to make a fast dime.

I went to Crate and Barrell and immersed myself in middle class respectability, and I loved this one, but don't have two thousand dollars for it. I went World Market for knock-off middle class respectability and thought this one was ok without the hutch. But it still didn't rock my world.

So far the desk I hate least is this one, which provides a surprising amount of charm for something from Staples and folds out into a bigger table that could take up half of the library during finals week.

Ooh... But then there's this one...

A little expensive, but spiffy...



*Yeah, I'm pretty obsessed with law school at this point and write about it frequently. You should have seen me two months before the wedding.


Stephanie said...

I liked the description of the desk in that book very much. The ending? Not quite as much. But I'm used to being confused.

Desks are really important symbols for many people. I'm sure you'll find what you need.

Chalicechick said...

Well, she does get it back...


LinguistFriend said...

I find nothing about the desk at the Staples link that you give, after two tries so that itwas not a fluke.

Joel Monka said...

I understand your obsession- I received a huge, beautiful desk as a present from my wife, and it is much cherished. That's where I do all my serious writing, with an antique dip pen and inkwell that go so well with the desk.

Lilylou said...

I like the Craigslist one, CC. I did find the Staples one but I had to put in my zip code.

Chalicechick said...

We ended up with the Staples one, but it is nicer than it looks.


Anonymous said...

I have a desk that would probably fit your dreams. It's an antique. It's about 5 feet long by 32 inches deep, with two very long drawers. it's quite dark solid wood. Its style is solid but not ungainly. It's been well-used, sortof scratched up. I used it when I was a kid. After I moved out, my mother gave it to my brother, who used it when he started his first business. Now I have it again.
It's too high for a computer keyboard. But it sure has a lot of space.

PeaceBang said...

When I moved into this parsonage I inherited this absolutely ginormous desk in the downstairs study. I love it madly. It weighs about two tons.

Mazel tov on your desk.

PG said...

If you've got a laptop, how big a desk do you need? (By the way, if you have a Mac, make sure your laptop is compatible with the software used for exams at Georgetown Law.)