About 20 years ago, I was a magazine/book editor in Idaho, and one of my best friends was the designer for myriad projects I was involved in. He got moved into a new office, but was surprised to see that it was just that: four walls, a light switch and a ceiling. No furniture. I quipped: “Come on, you’re a designer. All you need is a beanbag chair, a laptop and a projector and you’re in business.”
Ironically, today I find myself in similar circumstances. Last week I decided to reject my bohemian ways and try to make my office look a little more presentable. I tore the photos and movie posters off the walls, took down the cork bulletin boards and brought in my wife (the designer in the family) to suggest how I might make my office more professional. We both agreed that I needed a new chair for my student worker, a new stool for the bar/workspace in the corner, and most of all, I needed a new desk.
The desk I have been using for the past seven years is made of particle board, has a top that is not attached, and tries to split into three pieces when you try to move it. I have another, identical one for my student. Up to this point, we had them situated back to back so that the student and I did our work facing each other. Not really amenable to privacy or personal space. I decided to get rid of the student desk (which was the seedier of the two), move mine over to far end of the office (I have a big office), and order a new one for my desk.
I talked to the department chair, then the academic dean, then one of the accountants in the business office, and finally got them to agree to pay for a new desk. I went up to Fort Worth, about a half-hour drive from here, and saw one that I fell in love with, which I promptly ordered. That was last week.
Because of Memorial Day, they were going to deliver on Tuesday. And because someone else had ordered furniture for the university, they wouldn’t charge me anything to deliver.
Tuesday came and Tuesday went. At 4:45 p.m. I decided to call and find out what happened to my desk. They informed me that the other person from the university who had ordered furniture had cancelled their order, so they also cancelled mine. I complained and they told me they would call me back on Wednesday morning.
Wednesday the plant services people came and got rid of the student desk and moved mine over to where she would work. But by late morning, there was still no call regarding a new desk. I called them. They promised to deliver it Thursday–sometime.
So here I am, on Thursday, without a desk. I can use the student desk, but at this point, there’s no Internet connection there. Or I can sit in my office chair and pretend I have an invisible desk.
Which is what I am doing right now. And waiting. Lots of waiting.