HOW TO WASTE AN AFTERNOON

If you should find yourself with a blank afternoon, I have found the perfect way to waste it. The only ingredients you need are two rooms, a strong back and an imagination. Let?s pretend that you have a landing filled with your office furniture and a spare room formerly used as a bedroom.

Now this is where your imagination comes into play. Imagine having an office with a door and how great that would be. Now imagine that the landing is a second living room. How great would THAT be? You bet. Okay, that?s enough with the imagination. Now the strong back comes into play. First thing you want to do is empty out the spare room. The word ?spare? might imply barren, but such is not the case. First drag a bookshelf and a night stand out of the bedroom onto the landing. Now drag your desk into the bedroom. Next you will attempt to move the computer without unplugging the screen, speakers or keyboard. Tell yourself this will save you no end of trouble later. Discover that this is a very bad idea. Unplug the screen, speakers and keyboard. Move computer into bedroom. Attempt to plug the screen, speakers and keyboard back in. Cry a little. Unplug them again, plug them in right. Think unkind thoughts about Bill Gates and technology in general.

Navigate the narrow path you have built for yourself between the bedroom and landing. Stub your toe on the book shelf. Think some more unkind thoughts. Express a few of them out loud. Lift your printer and photocopier off their table, set them on the floor and then drag the table to the bedroom. Get the table stuck in the doorway, as unlikely as that might seem. Realize that not only can?t you get the table in, but you can?t get out. Sniff the air. Decide you smell smoke. Renew efforts to move table. Squish your hand and scrape off some skin you weren?t really using anyway. Success! The table is unstuck and you only put a very small hole in the door. You can hardly notice it. Are you having fun yet? Well, stick around. It?s about to get better.

Discover how inconvenient the placement of phone jacks and electrical outlets are in the bedroom for office stuff. Realize that the bedroom is smaller than you imagined it would be. Start to miss the relative spaciousness of the landing. Reminisce about how you could look up at the skylight and see the trees waving, or look down the stairwell and see out the first living room doors onto the deck.

Next wonder to yourself just why it is you want a second living room when there are only two of you living in the house. Do you really need a living room a piece? What will become of your office when the kids come home to visit? And if you?re the only one at home during the day when you work in your office, why exactly do you need a door?

Move the desk back out to the landing. Attempt to move the computer without unplugging it. Discover that this is still a very bad idea. Drag the bookshelf and end table back into the bedroom. Stub toe on the computer table. Blame Bill. Manage to navigate the table through the doorway without getting it stuck. However, you have to admit that the second hole in the door is a bit more noticeable than the first. With everything back in place you realize that not only have you managed to successfully use up your blank afternoon, but you have taken care of most of the evening as well. Cry a little. Blame Bill.