Tuesday, August 21, 2012


I’m downsizing again. Not at the farmhouse. In my office. I want to offload a chair, a desk, a mini refrigerator where I once kept milk for coffee. I want the feel of emptiness. To do away with clutter.

One odd thing about my office is that it is filled with a hodgepodge collection of my own furniture. I’d come to the Law School from a nonprofit and that nonprofit had so few resources that many of us purchased our own furnishings when working there. It was all second hand and a tad dated, even two dozen years ago. Today, it’s downright retro.

I could have done what everyone else does when they accept work at UW – filled my office with whatever the school had to offer. But I hated to see my old pieces go to waste and so I brought them with me and moved them in.

But here’s a reality: my office is small and the furniture is clunky. You know how desks were once massive and heavy? That’s my desk. And another important point: I never use that desk. I remain in a corner, at a tiny table where my computer sits and the big wooden desk is just a showpiece, nothing more. Since I no longer have sentimental attachment to such things as ancient heavy desks --  out it goes. And the old chair and the refrigerator for the milk that I haven’t stored for years.

Ed, ever the entrepreneur, asks – how much did you get for it?
I gave it all away. To my colleagues. I’m not going to charge my colleagues for my old stuff.
I see pity in his eyes. He’s thinking that I truly do not know how to be a capitalist. We are different in this way.

So this is what I did today: I remotely cleaned out my office. It was significantly less satisfying than writing my book, but it had to be done.

Earlier, I watered...

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...and then we eat a late breakfast on the porch, followed rather quickly by a lunch on the porch...

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Writing, by the way, is terribly unhealthy and I watch myself deteriorate into a state of atrophy and physical lethargy that is quite unusual for me. The best that I can say for myself these days is that we occasionally play tennis. As compared to our usual activities, that’s rather pathetic.

So now that the school year is almost upon us and I am indeed writing/editing my book less, I think I should return to moving more. We don’t bike to Paul’s (you have to understand – it’s really tough to get to his cafĂ© now, as the roads between us an his place are all torn up because, well, because people believe in highways and expensive and irrelevant exit ramps more than they believe in trains... harrump). We bike to Lake Waubesa.

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And lo, there is a tennis court right by it! Not a great tennis court – it’s riddled with cracks through which weeds grow, but it’s empty (who would want to use it, given the proximity of very excellent courts to the west of us) and so we play.

And after, I sit Ed down on a chair out front...

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...and I trim his beard.

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I'll be doing this on the 20th of each month (okay, I’m a day late). Because it’s a pleasant reminder of the day we first hung out together. Ocotober 20th. Seven years ago.

Dinner? Well, one has to do something with Farmer Lee’s cucumbers and all those tomatoes. I make a salad out of the both and then a huge pot of turkey chili – with  multiple  tomatoes from the garden. And because I miss putting things in the oven, I bake a cornbread.

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The first time I ever came to Ed’s farmette, he had baked cornbread for me. Probably he'll have liked his own better. It was out of a mix and very very cheap.

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