Sunday, November 18, 2007

Ode to my chair

A few weeks ago, I did a huge editing job. Every time I thought I was done, the agency I was working for would dump 50 extra pages on me. And then 50 more. I was interpreting during the day, and was editing on weekends and on weeknights until the wee hours of the morning. There was barely enough room in my life for anything else for a couple of weeks. My "breaks" consisted of playing with the boys in the evenings, bathing them, reading them some stories and putting them to bed, before I worked some more. That was when I discovered that I could work until 3:30 a.m., but not until 4:00. Somehow, it just seemed so much worse, especially if I had to get up at 7:00. That was a bad time, and it involved obscene amounts of coffee.

One of the worst parts about the whole thing was that I had no decent workspace. My fold-up desk in the guest room was crammed full of junk. Hell, I couldn't even get to it. My desk chair was a three-dollar stool from IKEA. (We used to have two of them--freebies we got with a purchase off Craigslist--but they're so cheap that one of them collapsed.) So I worked at the kitchen table, and in bed. By the time I was done, what with the lack of decent lumbar support and the 3+ hours of sleep I was getting, I was in so much pain. My neck, my back, my shoulders, you name it, it ached. My body was so relieved when I was done, and it took a few days for my body to get back to normal.

Once I got a check for another job I had done (I still haven't been paid for that particular job, and I'm starting to get antsy), I started looking at desk chairs. There was just no way I was going to go through that again. I ordered the chair online, assembled it and then waited for another big job to come my way. Also, I cleared off my desk. I'm so smart.

It's a weird chair. I ordered it online, sight unseen, which made me a little nervous. It cost $100, which might seem cheap of me, considering my line of work. But I honestly couldn't bring myself to go to Staples and buy a $500 desk chair (is there such a thing? Probably.), so I decided to risk it. Hey, I'm a freelancer, it's tax-deductible, right?

I've now put in a couple of days of serious translating and editing, and I am surprised by how much I love it. I thought I might, but I was basing that on the fact that I'd sat in a kneeling chair at a friend's place once while I used her computer and thought it was cool. It's true that the chair is a little hard on my shins. But when I get tired, I can rock it back, rest my feet on the floor and stretch a little. My back, neck and shoulders feel great, almost as if I haven't been chained to my desk for several days.

I hope it's not another 3:30 night for me. I'm thinking 1:00 or 1:30. But I do have a deadline to meet tomorrow, so I'd better get to it.

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