There’s a nugget of conventional wisdom which I’ve heard trotted out more than a few times in my life, about shoes and beds. You’ve probably heard it: spend a lot on shoes and beds, because you spend most of your life either on your feet or sleeping. Now, that might be true if I were a policeman, or a postman, or a waiter … but for me there’s a significant third element to consider, one which almost certainly takes precedence over my feet: you guessed it, it’s my arse. If I had a pie chart which split out my time between sleeping, sitting and walking, walking would look like some slim data anomaly, like eating out in Greek restaurants, or voting. No, my arse is where it’s at, and it’s for this reason that I’m now trying to justify spending a big wedge of my weekly wage on a chair.
I’ve tried every kind of financially reasonable option at home, including sensible chairs from Ikea, replica designer chairs, old wooden dining chairs, children’s high chairs (which I’m currently using to the chagrin of my coccyx), piano stools, drum stools, Swiss balls, ergonomic kneeling chairs … they all leave me wanting to get out of them within minutes of settling in. I sometimes think the problem is me, that there’s some undercurrent of procrastination which is the real cause of my inability to just plant it and get the job done … but there was a time when I was comfortable sitting in a chair, when I was happy to stay in that position for hours on end. Those times were when I worked in offices fitted out with Aeron chairs.
If you don’t know what an Aeron chair is, you probably do but don’t realise it. You might even be sitting in one right now. The Herman Miller Aeron chair, my arse all but sighs when I think about it. Sitting in an Aeron is like sitting in a tiny trampoline which has been sculpted to cup your seated form like a child cradling a freshly-hatched duckling. For several years it’s all I sat in at work, until the financial world melted into an embarrassing sticky mess and companies were all of a sudden cost-conscious about things like chairs. Sure, they could spare a few billion to buy another company or two: but the priority, the real priority, is to shave a few percent off the chair budget.
Talk about your false economies. When I stopped sitting in Aerons, I started to spend a lot more time going out for coffee, just to get the feeling back in my legs. One place I worked brought in chairs which were almost the equal of the Aeron in price, but in comfort terms? These chairs appeared to do everything in their power to get you out of them. Apparently designed to accommodate the natural balance of your body, what they would actually do is try to eject you from them. Any pressure on the backrest cause the back to tilt and the seat itself to simultaneously slide forward, until you slipped straight off onto the scratchy carpet tiles. Where I am now, the chairs appear to have been upholstered by the same company that does bus seats, and they possess some kind of thermal core which attempts to keep lifting the surface temperature of your back until it blisters.
My coffee consumption has gone way up.
If only they’d spring for some Aerons, they’d see how much better life could be. I’ve decided to to take matters into my own hands and locate my own Aeron. Then I saw how much they sell for in this country, and that gave me pause: $1200 and change, minimum, and no options on eBay that I can see. Yikes. So I ask myself, can I justify spending such a large proportion of my income on a chair? A chair? The answer of course is yes, yes I believe I can. Why? Because I spend most of my waking life on my arse, and my arse demands it.