Two women from Estates knocked on my office door the other day and asked me politely if they could carry out an inventory of my room. We are moving to another building soon so every moveable and reusable object must be accounted for and ticked off. As they recited the different moving parts of the office to each other (‘two operators’ chairs, two beech bookcases, two filing cabinets, one hatstand, one anglepoise lamp …’), I wondered what an alternative inventory, full of the past life of my office, might look like:
- A pebble from Brighton beach which I picked up on my last day there before I came to Liverpool.
- Bits of foam on the floor which have escaped from my office chair, which has been sat on so much that the seat cushion is almost a block of wood.
- A drawer full of no-longer-sticky blu tack and broken rubber bands.
- A million thoughts that came to nothing.
- The echoing sound of furious typing and then the backspace tentatively deleting what I’ve typed.
- A door worn down to its hinges by ten thousand knocks.
- Ghosts of students past, laughing, sometimes crying, asking for their essay back.
- An air of quiet disappointment.
- One middle-aged academic. Some signs of wear.
I think that’s everything.
Mundane quote for the day: ‘The mucilage of daily life that cements our genuine moments of being … accumulating at the side of the story but not claiming any importance for itself’ - Carol Shields, Unless