Guest blogger Michael Banovsky writes the first official eulogy for modern furniture.
Last night I realized the computer desk is dead. Not just the heavy clump of once-functional oak in the corner of my girlfriend’s apartment, stuffed with old papers and AOL internet discs. Her computer desk, dusty and disused, is but one of many relics across this country that sit idle in our homes.
The computer desk is dead.
Now that you’ve heard it, I doubt you’ll need convincing. I mean, it’s easy enough to justify the worth of your desk in terms of how long it took you to decipher the indecipherable assembly instructions, and how many pounds of installation disks and photo paper it now holds. (Saying: “This glossy paper, kids, is for special occasions” meant you only used five out of 20 sheets, right?)
Nights spent defragmenting hard drives and downloading the latest Metallica album from Napster are long gone. Gone, too, are the mountain of supplies you once needed for “personal home computing.” (Their words, not mine.)
Mouse pads, keyboard pads, CD spindles, plastic monitor-mounted document holders, printer supplies, the printer itself, that drawer that holds your USB 1.0 hub and an unholy number of paper clips, your stack of installation discs…
That desk there? It’s a tech crypt. Wait a few more years and it may be declared a World Heritage Site.
Let’s talk about the future: When’s the last time anyone waited overnight, in the rain, to pick up the latest desktop PC? (And then lugged the 50 lb. box home, before spending an hour feeding cables through the impossibly tiny holes in the desk itself…)
The future of computing is all about the dozens of powerful laptops, netbooks, and tablets on the market. “Lap”top, not “desk”top—mall Santa would be far less fun operating behind a desk, I think you’d agree.
iPad 2, PlayBook, Xoom, Galaxy—the reasons to go PC and compute on the cheap are being shot down, one sexy tablet at a time, too.
I imagine we’ll feel a universal disconnect a few years from now when a desk is spotted at a yard sale, much the same feeling a writing table—ink well and all—does now.
“Ain’t it quaint, Maude?”
Don’t let me discourage you from buying a piece of particleboard antiquity, though, especially if you feel that your identity can be accurately summed up by the number of used ink cartridges you’ve yet to recycle. A future of sourcing jewel cases for historical accuracy awaits.
But if you’d like to upgrade to a lightly-used solid oak desk, let me know. (My girlfriend promised me 10 per cent of the profits.)