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I am thinking I need an office.
I don’t need a big one, really. I just need someplace where I can write the column in peace. As those of you who follow the column regularly know, I write the column on Thursday evenings after dinner. Thursdays have become the busiest evening in our household lately and it’s become difficult to find even an hour or so to write the column. Most of the time, it doesn’t take a full hour, but I give myself an hour in the event the words just don’t flow like they normally do.
For instance, I have eaten dinner already, so I am working on the column. So far, I have had three calls from telemarketers or scammers (I never know which) and one of my wife’s friends called just as I opened the laptop. I am listening to them update each other on things while I am trying to write a marginally entertaining newspaper column. To be exact, I am only hearing my wife’s end of the conversation and not her friend’s. I’m sure my wife will let me know all that is new with Debbie when she is off the phone.
If it’s not the phone, it’s one of the neighbors. I love my neighbors like family and my wife watches their daughter during the day. We just come and go in each other’s houses pretty regularly. We share a common wall and we have all joked that we should just put a connecting door between the houses.
I don’t mind, really, because they are nice kids and we get together frequently. When they show up when the column is being worked on, my wife will hustle them into another room so as not to disturb me. As she has said to many, once the words are flowing, you have to let them flow. If the columnist stops midway through, the momentum stops and the columnist winds up writing something like “Gluten-Free Baby Goat Cryptocurrency Kills Cancer.”
Don’t overthink that — I don’t know what it means, either.
I don’t need a big office. I just need a little room where I can close the door and have some solitude. A small desk and a lamp. Maybe a small radio. A bookshelf. I don’t need any guest chairs because I’ll use the office to get away from people. People can’t linger if they can’t sit. Except for that one guy who likes to sit on the corner of everyone’s desk. I don’t like that guy anyway.
There was always one of those guys in all the offices I worked in over the years and his name was always Kyle and he drove a Subaru and talked about crossfit all the time. I want a place to write the column and not hear from guys like Kyle.
I don’t even need a window. A narrow, windowless room with bright lighting. Some might call that a cell, but I see it differently. A couple of plants and a lack of a big gray door made out of iron bars and you have a room, not a cell.
We don’t have any spare rooms at the moment. Our younger daughter has moved back home for a spell and the room that was once her bedroom and briefly was a den is now her bedroom again. There no longer is a desk and such in there because she needed room for a bed and a couch and her clothes and three cats.
We called it a den, but we really never used it as a den because it wound up being the place we put things that had no other home in our house. I think we called it a den because all the cool families on television had a room they called a den and we wanted a den.
I remember growing up and we had a family room and a den in our house. We kept the television in the family room and my father used the den for his stuff. Nowadays, I guess that’s what a man cave is. Call it what you want, but I call it the den.
I like our little house. It’s a rental, so we can’t build an addition, so I won’t have my office.
I write from home, so I don’t even have a desk at the newspaper. Big-time columnists have desks and some actually have offices at the paper. Maybe I should petition the editors to give me a desk in the office and I’ll drive up every week and write the column?
Until then, I’ll keep writing it from my recliner in the living room. At least I can put my feet up without the boss yelling at me.
Joe Weaver, a native of Baltimore, is a husband, father, pawnbroker and gun collector. From his home in New Bern, he writes on the lighter side of family life.