The other day I was drawing a diagram on the whiteboard to explain something to a friend. I was in the heat of explanatory joy. At one point I changed my thinking and decided to re-do a part of the diagram, which meant that I would have to erase the bit I had just drawn.
Amazingly, I felt my hand assume the shape it takes when I am at the computer keyboard, getting ready to do a “control-Z”.
I looked at my hand and said, “Wow. Maybe I should spend less time at the keyboard.”
That primitive act of holding down the Control key and repeatedly hitting Z has become engrained in my mind. It has ventured from the abstract landscape of software tools and invaded parts of my brain that function in the analog world.
At the deepest neurological levels…does my brain really know the difference?
The desire to erase something and start over runs deep in our lives. We do it in many ways. Sometimes we try to erase a bad memory – or at least render it impotent by attempting to cover it with newer memories. (That often doesn’t work – have you noticed?)
Will the increasing virtuality of our lives add to this desire to just Control-Z our problems away?
Check out this awesome video:
Okay folks, I’ve decided: chairs should not have wheels.
Wheels belong on cars, bicycles, and baby carriages.
What a wonderful invention: the wheel. A beautiful, perfect circle, having frictioned contact with a horizontal surface. Wheels are great for making things move at really high speeds, like infants in baby carriages being pushed through crowds by mothers who are trying to catch a bus.
Chairs are things that people put their asses on in order to do work, rest, or eat dinner. Chairs function well when they remain in a single place. While eating dinner, one expects not to move to another part of the room (unless the mustard needs to be retrieved from the fridge). While participating in a meeting, one can achieve optimal results by remaining in a specific place. In short, chairs work best when they are not in motion.
Hyperactivity + Chair + Wheels = Disaster
Perhaps I despise wheeled chairs because I’m a fidgety person. I can never stay still. So, if you put me in a chair that thinks it’s a vehicle, there is a strong likelihood that I will end up on the other side of the room within five minutes. If it is one of those chairs that spins, I am likely to end up rotating against my will. This happens often when I stretch my feet out to look at my shoes: I notice a slight dizzy feeling, and then when I look up, I m surprised to be looking at a wall, instead of the faces of the other people in the room.
The Dreaded Ergonomics “Expert”
I once worked in a company that was flush from the dot.com bubble. They hired an ergonomics expert to recommend chairs for all the employees. We’re talking expensive chairs here: chairs that have levers for changing height and incline, high-tech wheels, and adjustable arm-rests. These chairs were absolutely frightening.
The ergonomics expert and I had a heated argument about what kind of chair I “needed”. I was trying to convince her to get me a chair similar to the one shown in the illustration at right. She was not having any of it. She was convinced that I would be better served by being buckled into an absolute monster. I told her that I could easily get my fingers caught in the complicated machinery, or that my computer power chord would get tangled up in the wheels, of which there were FIVE.
Somehow, I was able to get rid of her, and I think it is because she began to fear me. After the other employees got their fancy chairs, it took them a while to get used to seeing me sitting on a piece of plywood supported by cinderblocks. Eventually they got used to it. And I was able to get a lot of work done.