7 Things My Desk Says

About me, that is. What it would probably say if given free rein is “help, I’m being buried alive!” Except, of course, for the trifling point that it is not alive, being neither made of sapient pearwood, nor belonging to someone who has refused hospitality to a French enchantress lately.

But what my desk says about me is Quite A Lot, and not all of it flattering. So here is the dirt the desk would dish: seven things one can deduce about me from my desk – or at least the top of it, because even I cannot give you a clear account of what exactly I have in the cupboard and drawers thereof (which tells you something about me all by itself).

Louis-Léopold Boilly - A Lady Seated at Her Desk - WGA02352
Lady, there is a dog on your desk. Also a small stone flasher.

Number One. This woman needs to clean her desk. You can still see the surface in places, but none of them are large enough for me to lay my hand flat, and I don’t even have big hands.

Number Two. This woman likes books. There are no fewer than 25 books on the surface of my desk, which can be divided into two broad categories. The first category, Books Which Already Have Words In Them accounts for just under half of the total. Pedagogy of the Oppressed sits next to Pippi in the South Seas, and How to Solve a Murder next to the Holy Bible.

The rest include various journals, diaries, scribbly books, noodling notebooks and at least one partially typed-up manuscript. What can I say? I love stationery, and good-quality hardbound books are a delectation to me. And I use them.

Unknown Dutch Master- Still-Life with Books

Number Three: This woman’s love of stationery does not restrict itself to books. There are two fountain pens on the desk, a specialized ink bottle for one of them (presently contains Diamine Woodland Green), a seldom-used but rather decorative wooden ballpoint-holder in the shape of a toucan, and a letter-opener with a large red (plastic) jewel set into its hilt. Most of these reside – when not in use – on a nifty little wooden tray originally intended for nibbles and dip.

Number Four: This woman maybe drinks too much tea. Tea paraphernalia on my desk includes a 97 year old teapot – with cosy and matching whatever that flat thing with the ring-shaped cushion is called; plus a cup & saucer (HM Sutherland China: Rural Scenes Bone China, according to its bottom), and a modern steel strainer. All in use as I write this.

Number Five: This woman is keen on handwork. At present my desk holds a tea-tin full of fine crochet threads for tatting, a plastic container full of odd bits of tatting practice and hand-drawn pattern diagrams, a very old tape measure, a hussif, and a knitted Dishonour Cow. There is also a small round tin containing beeswax waiting to be turned into shoe polish.

'Blissful Hours' by Samuel Richards, Dayton Art Institute

Number Six: This woman is not good at putting things where they belong (e.g. the bin). Strata of the desk include hordes of random notes on loose pieces of paper, a Barnabas Fund appeal showing a Pakistani farmer with locusts all over him (including his hair. He has locusts IN HIS HAIR), old receipts, a voucher or two, labels, larger pieces of loose paper for writing things on, occasional lists, a large wedge of assassinated pohutukawa (never forget!), ditto small (never!), an old mechanical kitchen scale, a small mirror and the packaging from a venerable bar of coal tar soap.

Number Seven: Despite her love for stationery, this woman still uses modern technology. The desk holds a laptop (on), a desktop (off), a mouse (on), a keyboard (off), a monitor (on), a multi-USB pluggy thing (on), a turns something or other into HDMI pluggy cord thing (off), a cell phone (on, but mercifully screen off), and SO MANY CORDS.

Bonus Number Eight: this woman has a pushy cat with a poor understanding of personal space and a perpetually early internal dinner alarm. And far too much loose fur, particularly for this time of year.

Cat and Mouse (2335190681)
Disclaimer: not my actual cat. My cat is more desk-coloured.

As you may have guessed from point five, this post was originally drafted some days ago. We shall, however, draw the veil of charity over what the desk looks like now. (In other words, point one still applies.)

What about you? What does your work surface say about you? Now I think of it, what’s the weirdest thing on your desk? And what would you say is the weirdest thing on mine?

4 Replies to “7 Things My Desk Says”

  1. Desk – aaargh! Paper sliding everywhere, carrot seeds, thumb drives, pens, glasses, screw drivers, and files ranged all around in book cases. I too need some time to file stuff away, clear the decks, and restore some sanity to the situation. Thank goodness i don’t have any cats muscling in and causing a landslide!

    1. An interesting assortment of interests: carrot seeds, screwdrivers and thumb drives!
      Clearing the decks is a good metaphor, now that I think of it: something that was done to prepare for action! Or stormy weather.

  2. For the first time in many years I haven’t got a desk covered long-term in lots of papers and stuff. Papers I’ve done my bit for are simply stood up in a magazine box, optimistically balanced on top of my smallest bookshelf. Anything on the right-hand end of the desk is understood to be awaiting action, and will be put away soon. The laptop is used in another room but ‘put to bed’ on the desk each night.
    Possibly this reduced clutter is a result of being in rented rooms for over two years, where I didn’t have an actual desk, just horizontal surfaces which I cleared frequently.

    1. Very civilized! I’ve made progress on my desk but I think a few more things need to find permanent homes that aren’t the desk.

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