Friday, December 09, 2016

`Hail, Ye Small, Sweet Courtesies of Life!'

I’ve been moved twenty feet down and across the hall to a new office, one that is the mirror image of my old office, minus the north-facing window. I miss the outdoor light. Now my computer table sits below a porthole-like window four feet in diameter that faces the building’s main corridor. Fortunately, the window comes with an almost opaque set of blinds. The move was seamless. I was without computer service for seven minutes. Four men moved my desk, table, gooseneck lamp, file cabinet and chairs. They seemed almost disappointed that I had so little to move. I forgot to mention Harry Plotter – the oversized printer that no longer works but takes up too much space and, when working, sounds like a cement truck. Un-fenestrated and re-plottered, I might have started whining. Instead:

A workman reattached my cork board to the wall (and shared three dirty jokes, two of which were good). Telephone service was uninterrupted (and I got a new cord for the receiver, one that doesn’t tangle). My boss scavenged a second lamp, with a shade and a 75-watt bulb. It casts a muted light that makes me think of Stan Getz records. The uncle of the professor now directly across the hall from my office was the trumpeter and cornetist Ruby Braff. As a neighborly gesture I sent him “Star Dust.” Best of all, my boss tells me they plan to move the plotter to the second floor, probably in January. Laurence Sterne opens a chapter in A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy (1768) with these words:

“Hail, ye small, sweet courtesies of life! for smooth do ye make the road of it.”

1 comment:

Andrew Rickard said...

"It casts a muted light that makes me think of Stan Getz records.

A great line, Patrick. A great line.