Sitting at my table in the living room/office/kitchen, I count the weeks since this quarantine started. Six, going on seven. I find myself pining for the office for which I pay rent, and all the things in it and all the things around it.
As I sit in the minute nook of my apartment that has temporarily replaced this creative haven, I recall the things I left behind, convinced this situation would resolve itself in a matter of weeks, not months. I didn’t think I needed to bring it all with me; I grabbed only the essentials as if dashing for a life raft.
And so, this is my ode to you, the items (and humans) I left at my co-working space.
To my external hard drive, which satiates the angst of the increasing day count since backing up my laptop. Though the quarantine has only lasted 42 days, daily does my laptop note that it has been 93, 94, 95 days and counting since it was backed up.
To my 4’x6’ rug that has never been vacuumed. I miss your color splotches and the random strands of fallen hair that form into balls for me to discover and discard. You always knew how to keep me humble.
To the pile of books I swear I’ll finish one day, staring at me judgmentally from my gold and glass bookcase. Your bookmarks peek from where they’re nestled, reminding me of a task unfinished. I’ll circle back to you at some point.
To the pile of books I used to quote directly instead of paraphrasing. You contain wisdom that I have definitely read but only partially remember. Oh, to be able to pull you from where you sit and flip through your pages, glance at highlighted and underlined sentences, until, at last, I find the one I was looking for.
To the pile of books I swear I’ll start one day, bought on impulse to support the author or to indulge a momentary intellectual rabbit hole upon which I stumbled three months ago. I’ll get to you eventually.
To my Study Bible, filled with snippets of commentary and context that help me feel like I’m not guessing at the meaning of certain passages. It was a comfort to know that, if pressed, I could point the blame for any controversial interpretations in your direction with a shrug.
To my 32oz Yeti. How you kept my water cold and my thirst quenched. I regret leaving you at the mercy of whatever bacteria is festering in the last of the water contained in your depths, because I neglected to wash you before my abrupt departure.
To my desk chair, which rolls and swivels and raises and lowers. The chair I rely on now was not made for marathon sitting sessions, even with the recommended adjustments. As the sages have said, “Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone.”
To my office slippies that have a hard sole. Though I have home slippies, you were always an indication that it was time to work. Now I am in a perpetual state of lounging, and for this I only have your absence to blame. Nothing else. Just the office slippies.
To the woman down the hall with the impossibly loud laugh. I miss being annoyed by this disruption multiple times in a day. You always kept me on my toes. And, by measuring my level of irritation, I could gauge when I was due for a break.
To the one guy on my floor whose name I know. I miss our random conversations, which were entertaining and enriching, but also pulled me out of my head. You made me feel social and friendly without the undue pressure of meeting anyone else.
To the kombucha on tap which made me feel healthy. You never revealed how much sugar you contained, and for this, I was grateful.
To the bathroom I didn’t have to clean with seemingly unlimited toilet paper. The journey to your stalls was filled with steps and turns, a welcome respite from staring at my computer. You satiated my fitbit’s hourly demand for movement.
To the scribbled quotes and verses taped to the wall and littering my desk. You made my office look like something out of A Beautiful Mind, which made me feel smart and important.
To the glass walls with nary a bit of sound absorption. You gave me the illusion of coworkers and companions. Hearing and being heard, we all pretended not to hear each other. I learned much about your life and office drama without ever learning what you actually do.
Soon, dear co-working space and even dearer glass box office, we will be reunited. Perhaps I will commemorate the moment by reciting an inspirational speech from one of the LOTR movies. But until then, we must make do with what we have and dream of the glorious day when we shall be together once more.