A note on the image

Tim’s desk,  c. 1986.

I’ve changed out the header photo for this blog in favor of something sleeker. I like the metaphor of the information desk, so that’s staying, but at least one person (OK, my wife) asked why I used the photo above to start with. It’s not really you, she said.

She’s right. No, it’s not me. I’m a lot more orderly, for one thing.

It’s also not me, literally, in that it wasn’t my desk. It was Tim’s desk.

Tim was my roommate senior year in college. For various reasons I rarely saw him after the first couple months — he was a night owl, and though I was pretty good at staying up past midnight myself, I was more diligent at keeping regular college hours … which is to say going to sleep around 2 a.m. (after Letterman, of course) and waking up at maybe 10. (During spring semester I also had a part-time day job, so I had to keep regular regular hours.) Tim often stayed out all night, returning to the room after I’d left for class.

He also never really used his desk except for what you see: piling crap on it.

I can’t remember what was on my desk, but in those pre-computer days, it was probably the basics: a lamp and a few books. I kept my typewriter packed away, only taking it out when I was ready to craft a final draft of some paper or another, and my stereo was set up on milk crates nearby. (My LPs, of course, were IN the milk crates.)

So I was (relatively) neat and orderly, even then.

But I always had an amused admiration for Tim’s desk. It was the kind of chaotic I could never be, much like Tim himself. I don’t know when he added the “INFORMATION” sign, but it was a wonderful touch. At some point during the year, I snapped the picture.

To this day, the photo makes me smile. Yes, it’s not me, but it’s so very Tim.

Which is why my wife is probably right, and why I’ve found a new picture for the “logo,” as WordPress calls it. Better to have something that suggests my more streamlined curiosity (or bewilderment).

However, Tim’s desk isn’t going far away. Besides its appearance on this blog, it will stay in my memory — Tato Skins, soda-sticky garbage can and all.

Tim later became a teacher. A very good one, in fact. He has a marvelous facility with languages and communication.




3 thoughts on “A note on the image

  1. I certainly remembered fondly the desk and photograph. I love it and the information sign was the crowning jewel.


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