Wednesday, September 16, 2015

When the mess of writing clutters the table, there is always a solution

The bowl.
My husband and I used to tandem bicycle race. We traveled about quite a bit because tandem racing has never been a sport that takes place often nor was it held at numerous sites in close vicinity to each other.

We had a compact car, a Datson 210. My husband was a serious fanatic about keeping his bikes clean (still is), and a tandem (bicycle built for two people) is no small package. We had two choices: mount it on top of the car or mount it behind the car. Neither option ends up with a clean bike at the destination.

My husband had a better idea. Thus the incredible disappearing tandem carrier was invented. It amounted to the removal of both wheels and the turning of the handlebars completely around so they hung over the frame. Then the car's rear seats were laid down and the frame laid on top the ridiculously tight flat space encroached on by the rear wheel wells.

Various bags, riding accouterments, and the bike wheels were wedged into place. A blanket was laid over it and then further soft items placed over that.  Riding buddies would remind us each time we arrived at a race site that we forgot to pack the bike.  Riders who didn't know us would look strangely at us as my husband would nod and say, "We might as well unpack anyway and stay awhile." Then our friends would gather for the great reveal. We could get that bike back together in about 59 seconds.

Now there is a glazed clay bowl on the center of my kitchen table. It's squatty, round, about twenty inches in diameter with a variegation of colors: vibrant reds, pulsing oranges, mossy greens, and lots of browns.  Several years ago I was visiting my mother and she offered me the bowl.  She didn't want it any more, and I was afraid to say no about taking it, worried she would take it as a condemnation of her decorative style. But then again she didn't want it any more and what did that say? But I did take it. It sat beneath the open island in my kitchen and became the catch all for plastic bags from the grocery store until we could recycle them. A rather ignominious use for it.

Then we bought a table. A really beautiful inlaid wood dining room table. All my writing stuff: index cards, computer, chargers, resource books, pens, ear phones, pictures, mouse pad and the list goes on, just could not be moved from the old butcher block table to this lovely piece of furniture. Yet I still needed to work there.

I moved everything to a basket in another room. I would retrieve my computer from a shelf when I wanted to use it and then put it back. Every night the same schlepping back and forth. When I needed a pen, my phone charger, phone, e-reader, my ever present index cards, highlighter, calculator, whiteout, soft screen cloth, I would have to trudge to the basket in the other room. And then take it back when I was done. The table looked wonderfully neat, but I was finding the whole carting process annoying. Things began to get left behind on the table for later schlepping. A poor solution.

There were numerous options:
  • Move myself to my neglected desk in the back room.
  • use my lap desk on the spare bed
  • use the couch in the living room and clutter the end table with my things.
  • throw a table cloth on the table and stack everything back where it was within easy reach like before. Seriously, not a chance.
I walked by the island and bent down to scoop up a snarl of loose dog hair and saw that bowl. Hmm.

The plastic bags all fit quite nicely into one bag, squished free of air and tied up. I set them back under the island and carried the bowl to the table.

You know, that bowl can hide a two-inch thick, trade-size writing journal, and all my other creative odds and ends. It looks nice and is the right height to make it difficult to look straight inside it when you eat, but not so tall that you can't reach in and find something by feel when you need it.

It will not hide a tandem bicycle. But then it doesn't need to.

How do you hide your writerly stuff?


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