Office Depot on an autumn Sunday afternoon is flooded with light and nearly empty, except for a few people patrolling the aisles in search of printer cartridges or deals on batteries. The buzz of the lights echoes in the high spaces until it becomes a resonant drone that induces a feeling of giddy sleeplessness. I drag myself in by my cane, searching for a chair that will give some measure of relief to my back. Shanan is still parking the car outside.
I have no idea where the chairs are hiding, so I swing right as soon as I get past the security posts. After fifteen feet I need to sit down, so I ease myself onto a conveniently placed chair, a little industrial black number. The tag tells me it's a multi-functional Patriot chair. Damn it, I'm no patriot. I'm something a little stranger and wilder.
Someone approaches, and for a moment I think it's another customer who's come to check out the Patriot. An irrational possessiveness flares up for a moment. Oh sure, I think, just when I've come out for a decent office chair, you have to come and buy the exact one I'm sitting on. I'm not giving up on my Patriot - it's got a tilting back. Then I realize it's Shanan.
You found the chairs pretty quickly, she says. I realize that I'm sitting on the western edge of a basketball court-sized floor of chairs, from the plainest of ergonomic kneeling chairs to the tackiest of the tacky, faux leather executive chairs in taupe and oxblood, some with brass highlights for that extra touch of class. We go from chair to chair, testing each for its level of comfort and array of levers. Ideally, I want an upholstered robot exoskeleton that will do my walking and running for me, shield me from bullets when necessary, and shape itself into a nice ergonomic unit with adjustable armrests. But can it be had for under three hundred dollars?
We begin to winnow. And let me tell you, there's nothing as fun as winnowing in an office supply store. We roll the most promising candidates through the aisles of desks and office mock-ups into a corner. At first we feel slightly self-conscious, but the few people in sight don't even glance our way. Eventually we've assembled a lineup of a dozen or so chairs. And that's when I meet you.
You are a Maverick. I am a maverick. We can be mavericks together, I think, and it seems that in your slight resistance to the curve of my spine I've found a willing partner. Your tag says that you were designed for intensive use. That's right, I say, it's gonna be intense. And then, because I'm so wild, I pick up a surge protector and some Pilot V-5 pens on the way out.