Knoll he didn’t …Posted: March 3, 2013
It’s been awhile since my last post. Partially because I’ve been avoiding the inevitable: really going deep and letting go of what were once treasures. I’ve gotten rid of the low hanging fruit (the easy part) and now it’s down to leaving stuff behind on the yellow brick road.
I promised to write about desks and watches. The desk caused me to check my motives and to get honest as I decide how to manage things I already have; selecting which watches to keep provided me with a useful template to find a balance between what’s important and what is excess.
I have a desk that I bought for $50 from a former employer over twenty five years ago. It’s simple; more of a table really, with two side by side drawers that are only a few inches deep and span its width. It’s got one of those forest-green rubberized writing surfaces on it. Solid wood, sturdy, and with clean lines, it was likely built in the sixties and has served me remarkably well for all these years.
Enter the Florence Knoll double pedestal walnut desk. It came to us a few weeks ago on consignment and I considered buying it – especially after I spent hours refinishing the top. I found a comparison online that recently sold for over $2,000.00. Slightly larger that my old standby, it’s also solid wood, has locking drawers on both sides , and floating legs. And did I mention it was a Knoll? Imagine going to bed with an old Dodge parked in your driveway, and waking up to find a Cadillac parked behind it. The keys are on the kitchen table, and you can keep both; but honesty tells you that only one can stay.
As I pondered how to keep them both it occurred to me that I wanted the Knoll desk not only because it was a very rare find, and is truly a looker, but because it had drawers. Drawers to fill with the stuff I wanted to avoid getting rid of! Thereby stalling, if not sabotaging the deep cleaning process I’ve begun.
One thing about the truth is that it will always be the truth no matter how you spin it.
That truth allowed me to sell the Knoll and keep the Dodge. I’m writing to you from it now. And you know what? She purrs like a kitten.
I have seven watches and have had as many as ten – all at the same time. Scaling back on these was hard because all but two were gifts. They don’t just mark time, they mark a time. I’ve resigned to keep three, but the process of deciding has helped me as I move forward.
My first choice is a Swiss Army I had a friend purchase for me when she was in Switzerland. I gave her the money and let her pick. It’s a cool watch that’s over twenty years old, it’s smart looking, but also very rugged. It’s the watch I’ve most often worked or travelled with, golfed and skied with. I wore it as I worked like a mad man to open my business. It’s been there with and for me. It’s my Swiss Army.
My second choice is a gold-colored Seiko quartz with a round face, purchased when I moved to Seattle in the late 80’s. I got it at Nordstrom and remember the saleswoman wasn’t able to tell me why I should take the one with the larger face over the one with the smaller face. I don’t recall how I opted for the larger one, but we now know that the one with the smaller face was designed for women don’t we? It’s the watch I wear in more formal settings.
My final choice is a square Seiko with a black face, gold trim and black alligator band. Simple. A shade or two below elegant, it doesn’t have a second hand or date and is so lightweight I sometimes forget I’m wearing it. A gift from an ex girlfriend and now long time friend. I’ll keep it.
I’ve come to believe that I don’t have to scale my life back so far that I can’t look at my wrist for an important piece of information and also remember times past. Going minimal can allow for memories and function without sacrificing either. The key is getting honest because when you do, stall tactics, needless upgrades, or tendencies to collect won’t overcome the truth.
Up next … sigh … my closet.