A better seat - SunStar

A better seat

Michelle-VarronMichelle Varron
It’s cold in the tropics

SHOPPING for chairs is a dirty business. Its like love. Before you find the one, you may have to sit on so many others.

Like love I found my current home office chair by accident, in a dusty warehouse with a dingy smell. It was enough to convince me that there are certain parts of the world where wizards and gnomes (and therefore possibly impossible-to-find life partners) may still be lurking. There was a bit of otherworldly mystique in that deserted place that afternoon. That mystique was hope. There it was, out of place, the picture of stark efficiency and modernity, sticking out like a sore thumb in a sea of old wood. Abracadabra! A cheap, beautiful, sinewy masterpiece of hard plastic and mesh.

I’m definitely sitting on it now. It feels so good. It almost brings to mind the kind of back massage I have yet to encounter: fully satisfying, mellow, unobtrusive.

And one more bonus: I never thought an ergonomic seat could do wonders for the thinking process. They all talk about yogic posture being a catalyst for clear thought. I always believed coffee was capable of the same, at far less effort. But now I know that there is something about this Bikram hocus-pocus that conjoins the alignment of your spine with the overall harmony of your brain. I’m thinking a bit straighter now, at least churning out more words per minute, so if one day I realize the clear thought was just an illusion then certainly the typing speed was not.

I asked myself, is the brain much better off, then, sitting on a cushioned throne than a crooked stool? Do the conditions need to be set in order to produce great work?

I know of writers and their peculiarities: writing nude, writing in isolation, writing with hundreds of sharpened pencils, writing around the smell of rotten apples, writing in bed. The only thing I can conclude from this is that the brain, the individual’s psyche, requires a definite set of conditions, but not as the world prescribes it, but as personal taste, experience, and an innumerable set of peculiarities dictate.

Just as no amount of software will create a better writer, to a certain extent, no amount of comfort will produce better ideas. In the case of an office worker, one would argue, comfort plays a role in the number of productive hours and perhaps overall health, but not in intelligence and competence. One may argue further that an intelligent person will naturally create the environment that he believes he is most efficient in. Within the confines of office rules and regulations, that is. And this is perhaps why we find more zombies in the corporate world than in Resident Evil.

To my delight, my well-rested spine has just suddenly canceled out a lot of unnecessary noise, noise I didn’t even know I had, distractions such as straggling thoughts about awkward conversations, anxiety, redundant errand reminders and impulsive fashion choices.

Like a bird, soaring above calm waters, I am quite ready now to take a dive. My prey is waiting down below. My numerous recycled cardboard pens are lined up. And I am quiet—serene as a yogi.

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