My Old Writing Chair, My Frenemy

If I sneak in quietly and sit in the back, probably no one will notice my absence.

It’s been awhile. I won’t regale you with long details of where I’ve been. Simply put, my writing chair was trying to kill me. Or at least torture me. It pretended to be my friend and ally, all the while literally plotting behind my back. It turned out to be a false friend. It proved to be my frenemy.

I discovered the deception by accident. Lately my lower back and right elbow have been so painful I started thinking maybe old age isn’t a myth. I couldn’t touch my toes and tripping on the sidewalk had me gasping at the jolt. I had reached the point of considering a doctor when something unusual happened: I stayed off my computer for an entire weekend.

One full day was spent helping out at the Kansas City Renaissance Festival. That’s a 10 hour or so day on my feet. I expected that to make my back and elbow ache more. At the end of it I was tired, hungry and shocked that my back and elbow felt better.

The second day was a community outreach at the Independence Market for Space and Time magazine. I came back and moved boxes of back issues around the house. Again, I expected pain. Again, I felt better than ever. That’s when I started suspecting foul play.

The next time I went in to my closet to work, I paid attention to my surroundings. Almost immediately my hips started hurting. I investigated the chair to find out the seat was crooked. It tilted to the right, effectively twisting my hips. Further investigation revealed that it was my mouse that had instigated the seat to go crooked.

I use a stack of printer paper as a mouse stand and was a few reams short.  This caused my mouse to be lower than I liked. Without realizing it, I had started leaning to the right to work, bending over and locking my elbow. Eight plus hours of this on a near daily basis were causing me sore joints. Hunched over on my closet, I’m told I resembled Gollum from Lord of the Rings—obvious hyperbole—but the pain was real.

Lucky for me, I was able to replace my old, crooked chair with The Perfect Chair. I first saw it on a corner near our house. It didn’t look like much but something about it called to me. It needed to be sat in one last time before spending the rest of its days in the dump. It asked for another shot and I grudgingly gave in. Lucky for me I did. As I said, it is The Perfect Chair.

What makes it so special? Everything about it. This chair understands me better than I know myself. The back is lightly inclined, but not too far. I don’t like a chair that feels like it wants to put me to sleep. I like my chair to keep me upright and alert, but not rigid. The perfect chair and I should be partners in pondering. I shouldn’t have to worry about my chair trying to put me out. It’s trust.

In addition, my feet touch the floor flat. I don’t have to sit on one leg and dangle the other. cross my ankles, swing my feet or get a box. The seat is soft, but supportive. Sure, the velveteen fabric is worn in spots to suggest that it has participated in someone’s life. I know I’m not the first, but worn as it is it’s still soft to touch. It’s not stained or smelly to suggest it’s had too much life. It’s not a garish color or pattern but a classy pale cream. The back supports my shoulders, but not my head leaving it free for thought, not naps.

I like to imagine who had my chair before me. I assume they died to relinquish such a perfect chair. It could be that they were tricked. Some fraudulent evil doer convinced them they were taking the chair out to be cleaned, but instead they abandoned it on a street corner. It could also have been stolen but the thieves dropped the hot item on a corner in order to flee. Perhaps I was lucky enough to find it in that moment between desertion and reclamation. It had to be something like this. No one would give up such a perfect chair willingly.

In any case, the chair has come to me now. We are like two pieces of a puzzle that weren’t even aware they had missing parts. Rodin’s poor Dante would not have looked so broody  had he a chair like this one.  It is an ethereal object disguised with the mundane. Who knows what daydreams will be released from this well-worn, velveteen throne?

With well cradled tush I no longer dread long hours chained to my computer. To the contrary, I relish the thought. My muse apparently has simple needs—coffee and a comfortable chair. With these two things accomplished, she knows no limits. And, hopefully, neither will I.

About Angela Yuriko Smith

Angela Yuriko Smith is an American poet, publisher and author. Her first collection of poetry, In Favor of Pain, was nominated for an 2017 Elgin Award. Her latest novella, Bitter Suites, is a 2018 Bram Stoker Awards® Finalist. Currently, she publishes Space and Time magazine, a 53 year old publication dedicated to fantasy, horror and science fiction. For more information visit SpaceandTimeMagazine.com or AngelaYSmith.com.
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2 Responses to My Old Writing Chair, My Frenemy

  1. Laura Kester Duerrwaechter says:

    I absolutely love this piece thank you, Angela

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