The Desk Chair

Not too long ago, I purchased a new desk chair. I made sure to spend some money on one that I think will last a long time and will match the colour scheme I’m aiming for. And, it hasn’t disappointed. In fact, it’s better than I expected.

The cushion is Tempur-Pedic; there’s a prominent tag in the stitching. I think it’s some sort of memory foam. When I sit down, it forms itself nicely around my boney bottom. When I stand up, it would appear as if I was never sitting down. It has made sitting down at my desk more comfortable.

While writing this, I’m sitting on a $26, wooden dining chair from IKEA. Riel, well, he’s sleeping comfortably on the Tempur-Pedic cushion.

Nearly every morning, I wake up, pour myself some coffee, and make my way to my desk, where I sit down to write my Morning Pages. During the week, I head to work, after I shower, at around 7:30. I want to be leaving earlier but my routine hasn’t shifted enough. Before leaving, I make sure that Riel is fed. When I get home in the late afternoon, I open the door and Riel is often right there, trying to get out as I try to remove the sticky key from the lock. I bend down to stop him and whatever bags I’m carrying fall to the floor.

I ask him about his day and then, depending on how he meows, I ask follow-up questions or tell him about my day. After that, I feed him. I’ll usually make some remark about whether or not he’s eaten what I left for him to eat during the day.

Riel’s vocal but he’s not much of a conversationalist. Generally, he prefers to make his point and then let it hang. He’s insistent when he’s not getting what he wants. When I’m sitting at my desk, that’s the desk chair.

He has a multi-tiered scratching post, complete with a hammock and enclosure, next to a large window. There’s the reclining couch that’s left open for him, because the latch is a bit tricky for a cat to open. On the bookshelf, next to the desk, there’s a cat house specifically designed for his comfort. I’ve even emptied an IKEA DRÖNA box for him to tuck himself into – he’s able to pull the drawer out far enough to get in on his own.

When I’m sitting at my desk, on the desk chair, he’s polite at first. He’ll walk up, meow, and then sit on his hindquarters while he stares at me. My first impulse is to feed him, so I get up and put some food out for him. When that’s not enough, I’ll throw some treats his way. He’ll always go for those but then he returns, reaches up, and paws at me. I’ll pick him up, give him a good scratching behind his ears – the type of scratching that makes him purr – and let him down again. After that, I’ll tap on the desk, indicating to him that he should jump up and join me. Eventually, I’ll inch forward on the chair, giving him room to tuck himself in behind me. Still, it’s not enough.

I once had a desk chair that had a backing wide enough for him to sit on top of. When I had that chair, he’d jump up there and make himself comfortable. I had to be careful about leaning back but it worked well for us. In the interest of my lumbar and aesthetic, I didn’t get a chair with that type of backing this time.

Things are a bit more complicated now.

So much of life is about making decisions that test our priorities. We often choose the easiest option because it’s more comfortable and doesn’t impede too much on our values. We justify these decisions by telling ourselves that we’re taking the “high road” or are being “the bigger person.” In the end, these decisions don’t make too much of a difference in our lives, even though we bring them up occasionally, when we’re around friends, because we want validation.

I’ve started leaving a dining chair next to the desk for when Riel wants to take a seat. When he does, I just push the desk chair out of the way with him on it and pull up the unformed, uncompromising chair. He’ll look up momentarily while he’s being moved but quickly return to his comfortable existence.

All that’s left for me to do is write a blog post about it all, while he sleeps peacefully on foam that’ll never remember he was ever there.

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