I’m up early and ready to work. The boys are away, the house is quiet, and the kingdom is mine! It’s such a lovely morning and the office is too stuffy. I figure a little change of scenery might be productive.
The couch in the living room would be a perfect place to work today. Cozy and quiet. I could even open the windows and enjoy a little bird-house symphony while I work.
So I pile my notes together, a couple of reference books, my laptop, its cord, the mouse and pad, and a bag of pumpkin seeds (brain food). I maneuver the stairs with my towering encumbrance like a tightrope walker, poking tentatively ahead of each step with my toe in search of the cat. I can’t see him but I know he’s there, trying to guide me by stepping wherever my next foot is about to land. For once, I don’t trip on him. It’s going to be a great day.
There are three available outlets around the couch. I set all my equipment on the coffee table and plug in to the outlet across the room, but it’s an uneasy arrangement. The cord is two feet off the ground and stretched taut like a limbo bar. The battery weight keeps pulling the power adapter from the computer jack, so I pull a kitchen chair around and set the battery on that. It helps, but not much. Every time I move the plug leaps out. Anyone watching me type would have thought I was wearing an imaginary straight jacket; I’m afraid to even turn my head for fear of upsetting the air molecules around me. Despite my efforts, the cord will not stay attached. I have to try a different outlet.
I plug into the outlet behind me, which requires moving all my gear to the other side of the couch to make it work. Do you prefer one side over another? I do, so it feels alien to sit here, but I make it work. Once again the cord is stretched precariously, only a few inches off the ground but this time across the entrance to the kitchen. Now that seems a bit safer, until I go to the kitchen for coffee and trip over it. Twice in the same minute. Going and returning. Both times I yank out the cord. You’d think I’d remember and not do it a third time. You don’t know me well.
Clearly, using this outlet is going to kill me, so I switch to the third outlet, which is at the other end of the couch. The cord runs safely parallel to the couch, and…almost reaches. I switch sides again, but still come up about two inches short. I bridge the gap by balancing the computer on the couch arm, which is round. By setting the mouse and pad on my knee and planting my left wrist on the edge of the keyboard as an anchor, I achieve pseudo victory. It’s an awkward position, not taught in typing class. Anyone watching would have wondered if the imaginary straight jacket might be on upside-down and backward, perhaps with one leg stuck an armhole. I manage to type and teeter my way through an entire sentence before dropping the mouse. When I lean over to retrieve it, I nearly let go of the computer.
This is ridiculous, I think. I should just go back upstairs where I belong. I stare at the outlets with pouty eyes. And stare at the outlets. And stare at the outlets.
Sometimes we stare so long we can’t see anything else but the problem. Munching pumpkin seeds brings no enlightenment; so much for brain food.
Resignedly, I start to gather my things, but I’m not about to push my luck with the cat on the stairs. I’ll sit at the kitchen table. Not as cozy, but safer anyway.
One last disdainful look back at the cozy couch stops me in my tracks. Anyone watching me would have wondered if perhaps I need a real straight jacket, as giggles overtake me.
Move. The. Couch.
Five minutes later I’m joyfully ensconced on the couch in the center of the room, typing away today’s epiphany: Sometimes you have to stop looking at the problem to find the solution.
It’s going to be a great day.