The chair doesn’t talk to me every day as it turns out. I have found myself talking to the chair and getting nothing in return. If that doesn’t sound foolish, you should try it, particularly when someone– to wit my manager Emily– happens in on me. I look as crazed as all those New Yorkers with ear buds talking on the phone to someone that no one can be certain actually exists. My predicament, in a nut shell.
Today, however, my chair greeted me heartily as I walked in the door. “You’re in early.” The chair sounded English chipper.
“You know it isn’t that early for me,” I replied. “It is 9 and I have shown up as early as 7:30.” It was my turn to be a little grumpy.
“Just thought I would tell you that your almost brand new office chair is about to die.” This was said exuberantly.
“What do you mean? And it is at least five years old.”
“It’s losing bits. A screw person and a washer person are on the floor and it is just a matter of time before the seat person gives way. Lose fifteen pounds and you might save the seat person for a while, but on the whole, the chair person is going fast. And five years versus four hundred. Get real.”
I went back to my office and did indeed see a screw and a washer on the floor. I put them back in, but the screw was stripped.
“Told you so,” I heard in a sing song voice from the other room.
“I can fix it,” I said in a return sing song.
“You won’t,” the chair sang back. It was right, I could do a temporary fix, but the chair was on the way out.
“Make you happy? Seeing one of your own die like this?”
“No, no,” the chair shot back, “not at all. It’s an affirmation of how well I am made that I have lived so long and some new-fangled, nuts and bolts relative lasts for five years at best. I am happy because of my survival, not because your chair is dying. Besides, we don’t see death the way you do because we know we will come back in some form or another. It is really a testament to those things you deal in and spectacular British craftsmanship. You should be as happy as I am.”
“You are still boasting,” I maintained. The chair didn’t bother to reply, it was humming, ‘Rule Britannia” and I was certain there was also a self satisfied smile, but I wasn’t certain where to look for it.