(that’s the sort of title that thirteen-year-old James would be shouted at for including in his English homework. Where are you now, key stage three mark schemes?!)
For someone who’s spent a worrying amount of time siting at desks in his life, I’ve never really had a decent desk. My desk at home – the one I’ve brought to my flat – is a simple piece of IKEA wood bolted into four simple IKEA legs, and my chair was always a slightly curved bit of IKEA tat screwed into a set of wheels that conked out after a few years. The setup was unspectacular, but largely functional; the only issue was that my chair was the smallest, least comfortable piece of crap I’ve ever had the displeasure of parking my arse upon.
As a result, I learned to fear that chair. The chair was part of the wider suffering struggle of homework, a literal pain in the arse making my physically uncomfortable as the work made me academically distraught; that chair was a great motivator, a thorn in my side that encouraged me to work as quickly as possible to get stuff done, but little else. I never used that chair for relaxing in, or even sitting in when there wasn’t a book in front of my nose, which is why I wanted a laptop so badly last year, so I could peruse Buzzfeed and play Football Manager from the comfort of an armchair, or even a cushy bed of nails.
Now, however, everything has changed. As part of my agreement to take the smallest room in our house, I asked for the rather nice chair from my flatmate’s room as part of the deal; it’s not very new, or in very good nick, but it’s a big, high-backed black thing, made of some suspiciously comfy synthetic material with big plastic hoops for arm-rests. The wheels work, it’s just worn enough that I can lean back in and have it lean back with me, and the arms fit just underneath my trusty IKEA desk.
But the memory of my old chair still haunts me: I was speaking on the phone a bit earlier, and reverted to my old jumpy pacing around the room, when I had a perfectly squishy chair to rest in; and sometimes I choose to recline on my bed like a Roman patrician instead of sitting on the chair, laptop in hand, which is equally comfortable and far more productive.
This is why that title is rather tame; I can’t say ‘my chair is lovely’ because I’ve not used it nearly as much as the other things I love. This chair isn’t a committed partner, but a cute person I’ve had a few dates with, but haven’t been able to fully engage with because they share a name with someone who bullied me in primary school, so I always feel this weird nostalgic dread whenever I hang out with them. Hopefully that’ll change; in all honesty, it is a great chair.