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Sunday, July 8, 2018

Goldilocks and the Three Chairs

We writers are a notoriously picky bunch. We have our favorite pens, our favorite computer software (updates being the bane of our existence), our preferred spot at the coffee shop. We treasure our favorite notebooks and journals. Swap things up and our creativity takes a hit.

Once upon a time, I had the perfect office chair. Manufactured by a company known for expensive mattresses and boasting an adjustable lumbar support, it was made from a lovely soft gray fabric that appealed to my personal sense of touch.

Unfortunately, it also appealed to my cats. 

They fought over which one got to sleep in it. And when I suggested to the winner that I would like to sit in my chair, I received THAT LOOK which most cat slaves recognize. Fat chance, bub.

That lumbar support I mentioned? I rarely had the opportunity to enjoy it because for years I teetered on the edge of the chair while a furry feline refused to give up the three-quarters of it she’d claimed.

The other thing the cats liked about the chair was the aesthetically pleasing soft gray fabric. In the cat world, it was the purrfect texture for a scratching post.

I tried cat-repellant sticky tape. I tried slipcovers. Soon, both only served to hide and/or patch the rips. Once the foam stuffing started drifting across the floor, I knew I’d been beaten.

A couple of years ago, I decided it was time for a new chair. Perhaps my furry masters wouldn’t be so enamored of leather. However, I didn’t care to spend a lot of money on an experiment only to have another piece of shredded office furniture. I bought a cheapie vinyl store-brand chair. The old adage about getting what you pay for? It’s true.

I never liked the new chair. Not enough padding. Not enough lumbar support. And no amount of adjusting could make it have the amount of rockability that I wanted. (Rockability isn’t a word? It should be.)

But the cats avoided that chair! They had no interest in sitting in it. Nor did they like the feel on their paws. In the cat world, it sucked as a scratching post.

Recently, I decided for the sake of my neck, my back, and my hips, I needed a better seat. No more cheapies. I wanted leather. The real stuff. And I wanted it to be comfortable enough to suit my writerly need to plant my butt in it for long periods of time each day.

I wandered into an office supply store for goodies last week—writers LOVE office supplies—and found myself drawn to the display of office chairs.

There was one that looked like it belonged in a sports car. The tag said it was a “gamer’s chair.”

I sat in it. Too hard. Another chair looked padded and opulent. But the padding wasn’t in the right place for my body.

By now a salesman had joined me to point out the wonderful qualities of the more high-end models. He soon learned that I, like Goldilocks, was extremely picky. This one was too hard. That one was too big.

And then, I discovered THE ONE. I sat in it and my entire body breathed a happy sigh.

I kept trying others. The salesman directed me to his personal favorite. Nope. Not enough neck support. The Rolls Royce of office chairs had wonderful lumbar support…for someone else.

I kept going back to the same chair. 

It was the only one in the store that was JUST RIGHT.

It’s leather. It fits my curves. My butt is happy to be planted in it for long periods of writing. Its rockability factor allows me to lean back and ponder the scenes outside my window—or the insides of my eyelids. And it’s now in my office.

And my cat hates it.

Do you have a favorite chair, pen, notebook, or even a talisman that you need in order to be productive?  


Liz Milliron said...

I don't have a favorite item, but I do need a new chair. I see a trip to to the office supply store in my future!

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

I write at the kitchen table, sitting on a hard wooden chair. Or I stand at the counter. The key element is being able to open the door for the dogs with one hand still on the keyboard.

Annette said...

Mary, I always have a trip to the office supplies store in my future!

Margaret, we have to set up our workspaces to suit our lives. And our pets!

Warren Bull said...

I bought a fanky-smancy chair that turned out to be worth the too much Paid for it.

KM Rockwood said...

Sometimes I think about getting a new chair, but my old one is comfortable. It has duct tape over the worn parts on the arms and back where the foam shows. It used to be adjustable, but the device broke, so I asked a friend to weld it back together. Of course it no longer adjusts, but it's the right height. I have a lumbar support pillow on the seat, which otherwise would be too deep for me. And the cats don't especially care for it. Every once in a while, one will be asleep in it, but when I toss the cat out, I get the "Well, there are much better places to sleep and I was leaving anyhow" look.

Storyteller Mary said...

I DO love a happy ending! You build suspense well . . . I was afraid the cats would like the real leather. <3

Jim Jackson said...

In the south I have an adjustable standing desk and do 90% of my work at it. About three-quarters of the time I stand; the rest I sit. Up north, I am all over the place. I have a desk and do a lot of work there, but when the weather is decent I work on the screened porch. If it’s windy enough or after the mosquitoes die, I work at my dock, or on a platform by the lake, or on my deck that overlooks the lake. I particularly enjoy moving around when I am rewriting, which is my current stage.

But to answer your question, no one thing is required or even moderately needed for me to be productive.

Annette said...

I love the fancy schmancy chairs, Warren.

KM, you know what they say. If it ain't broke don't fix it! There's a lot to be said for old comfy chairs.

So far, so good, Mary! Thank goodness!

Jim, your writing spaces sound fabulous and perfect for productivity.

Grace Topping said...

A good chair is hard to find. Glad you found one that is perfect for you. My husband has a comfortable desk chair and doesn't want to give it up, but the arms have worn out on it. Impossible to find replacements for them. I'll have to come up with some homemade method of repairing them. Don't want to give up a comfortable chair.

Annette said...

They are definitely hard to replace, Grace!