Thursday, October 18, 2007

Where Old Office Equipment Goes to Die

If you need a brown naugahyde office chair, circa 1974, I know where you can get one. Actually, I know where you can get a whole set of them. Cheap! Plus, dozens of crusty manual typewriters that are pushing 100 years of age. So what if the ribbons are hopelessly tangled or missing altogether?

How about a complete dental office set-up?

Pre-Novacaine Dental Office
OK. So it's not quite cutting edge technology, but the spit sink is like new. And, I'm sure the price is right.

Perhaps you need a punch clock.

Time Has Run Out

I'm waiting for a couple of projects to come in, and while I've been waiting (and not working) this week, I've been roving around Portland trying to finally, finally, finally (after almost six years) find the accouterments I need to turn our second bedroom into the satellite office/personal writing sanctuary/craft room/Zen spa/yoga practice and meditation room that I always knew it could be if I'd just stop using it as a place to store junk in a willy-nilly (i.e., piles on the floor) fashion.

I needed to find a desk--a nice elegant, unobtrusive, low-profile desk. Not some hulking particleboard abomination and not some sleek modern aluminum twig from IKEA (recall that I am no fan of IKEA and am not in the least bit thrilled that we now have one in Portland).

I decided that I would try this weird old-skool office store on Sandy that I've driven by hundreds or thousands of times. It's called Desks, Etc., or something like that, and has been there since the year dot (or thereabouts).

No one was in there except for the people who worked there, but they didn't hover. They let me roam freely. The main floor was mostly new stuff, but they encouraged me to check both their upstairs and their downstairs levels.

The upstairs is amazing. It's more antique store than anything. It's where they've set up the "dental office" and the wall of octogenarian-plus typewriters. The lighting is dim and no one ever dusts. No real effort has been made to, say, put all the typewriters in one place (the wall o' 'writers is something of an anomaly) and all the adding machines in another. Stuff is just plopped on desks and heaped on chairs--wherever there's room, I guess. But everything does have a price tag. Still, I can't imagine anyone buying any of this outdated stuff. And even if there are some defunct office equipment enthusiasts out there, I don't know how they'd know to go to this Desks, Etc. place. It's not like it's called Desks and Every Piece of Defunct Office Equipment There Ever Was.

Next, I went down to the sad, sad, sad basement. That's where you can get a desk for five dollars. The stuff down there was a bit newer (1970s and 1980s) but so much more depressing. A typewriter from the 1920s has a bit of style and dignity, even if it hasn't been oiled and cleaned since the Hoover Administration.

Cubicle Graveyard

But look at all these scratched desks and wobbly chairs lined up and ready for the firing squad. There were rooms and rooms with chairs and desks like these (also "office art") stacked to the ceiling. Color scheme: beige, pale turquoise, orange, and maroon, the color of impending doom.

It reminded me of my first job.

But the good news is that I did find a desk--from the main floor where they sell the new stuff--that is not at all dusty or depressing. I think it will suit me perfectly and its being delivered tomorrow! Fingers crossed the delivery people will be able to maneuver the desk through our kitchen and narrow hallway into the sanctuary (etc.)-to-be.



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