My desk chair plays mind games

I have been in the throes, so there have been no posts recently.  Tendonitis, the early stages of carpal tunnel, and the need to churn out a super-human amount of dissertation writing over the past few weeks has pretty much ensured that I haven’t had much time for crafting. Or other hobbies. Or exercise, eating properly, or paying attention to my spouse. Bad Kimi. Must do better.

I have started one new project, which I will write a post about fairly soon (once it is at an advanced enough stage to show off), but the bulk of my time recently has been devoted to dissertation writing. I have now drafted two of my three body chapters for the project, and will be finishing the first full draft of Chapter 3 TODAY.  Whoo!

Naturally this kind of dedicated writing has meant that I’ve spent many, many, MANY hours at my desk (usually surfing Reddit and Facebook, thinking about monkeys, typewriters, Shakespeare and the possibility of an autonomous, artificial intelligence that would just write the chapter for me). The past week has been particularly brutal as I’m coming up against a hard deadline (my adviser needs the chapter by 4pm today), so I’ve pulled a lot of late nights.

Now writing can be a really positive experience if you let it, but I find that I’m better at working under pressure and hating the world at large. Whatever gets you through. The past two nights have been incredibly brutal, though, and I’ve figured out why. After four years of faithful service, my desk chair has gone turncoat.  It’s actively playing mind games with me.

The pneumatic lift on the super-fancy office chair seems to be dying, but it’s doing so at irregular and unpredictable intervals. This makes for a strangely bipolar writing experience. I’ll type and type and type, feeling stupider and stupider, smaller and smaller. Then I realize that over the course of the last half hour my chair has dropped four inches and I’m typing with the keyboard at my collarbone.  Every half hour my spirits are buoyed as I raise the seat up to the proper level and start a new paragraph.

All of a sudden, my desk chair has become a metaphor for the highs and lows of graduate life and, like my status as a PhD student, will soon come to its own end. I’ll eventually replace the lift (or barring that, the chair), but for now I’m keeping the rebellious piece of furniture in place. It’s a nice reminder that no matter how much I hate my writing sometimes or how ignorant it can make me feel, there’s always a new paragraph.

(That said: Desk chair, I’ve got my eye on you. Your days are numbered, my friend.)

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