This morning I took it upon myself to clear up the “junk room”. We are fortunate enough in our ramshackle house to have a room that isn’t really used for anything – and somehow I appropriated it many years ago as “my room”. I have shared it from time to time, and it has been re-purposed on occasion, but by and large the room that would have been a sitting room in the 1930s has become mine.
In the far corner of the room stands an old filing cabinet full of paperwork that we’ve long since forgotten about. I think the birth certificates, marriage certificate, and various other important pieces of paper might be in there. On top of the filing cabinet stands perhaps the newest addition to the room – a networked inkjet printer. I very rarely print anything at all, but the children seem to find reasons to print gargantuan quantities of nonsense on a weekly basis – mostly for school during term time because apparently schools can’t afford to print anything themselves any more.
Adjacent to the filing cabinet stands a semi-transparent drawer unit filled with wires, and bits of old electronic devices – chargers, adapters – that kind of thing. It probably contains enough hardware to gain sentience and ensnare a human, much as happened to Richard Prior’s character in Superman 3. If we ever need a USB cable, a VGA cable, or a kettle lead, we can usually be sure of finding one or two within the drawers. Once upon a time I sorted the entire contents of the drawers out, but then my other half and the children needed to find something, and it all turned to hell in minutes. I’ve never bothered again.
Next we have the desk – one of the few pieces of furniture that came with me from my apartment before we got married. It’s not so much a “desk”, as a huge piece of wood on some metal legs. In the corner there in angle-poise lamp – perhaps the fifth we have bought in as many years because they always seem to either fail completely, or have bulbs in them that nobody on earth has ever heard of before. Beneath the lamp is an 8 port ethernet router – almost filled to capacity because we have the most insane network throughout the house that I have ever seen (and I invented it). The rest of the desk is pretty mundane really – the computer monitor, keyboard and mouse (all cheap and/or hand-me-downs), a cork board filled with postcards from friends on the internet, a huge teddy the kids bought me for my birthday a few years ago (he’s called “Geek Boy” in reference to his Star Wars t-shirt), and a number of desk organiser pots filled with pins, staples, and pens that haven’t been stolen yet.
Underneath the desk my old PC hums away. By modern standards it’s positively neanderthal. I’ve written about it numerous times in the past – about the varied parentage of it’s innards. I think the only thing that might be original any more is the motherboard, and the case. It’s just about good enough to run Windows 7 and Google Chrome, so that’s what it gets used for most of the time. I can’t remember the last time I played a video game, which is kind of sad really.
Alongside the desk sits an old unit that used to sit in my bedroom when I lived with my parents. It is filled with old CD-ROM discs, and a random selection of ZIP Disks. Who remembers ZIP disks ? Each stored about 100 times as much as a floppy disk, although not appreciably faster. They became obsolete around the same time CD-RW drives became prevalent, as far as I remember.
Sitting on top of the unit is an obsolete network laser printer. I should really throw it away, but I can’t quite bring myself to consign it to the rubbish tip just yet. We’ve had it for perhaps a decade, and it’s been fantastic. I started to act up about two years ago – printing a blue stripe down the edge of everything. I looked up the cost of getting it serviced, and it comes to more than buying a new printer.
To my right – under the window from where I can spy on people walking up the drive to deliver parcels to the front door, is a second desk, with a second angle-poise lamp sitting on it. There is a sewing machine tucked away underneath the desk that tends to get dragged out by my other half to make costumes for the local dance teacher each year when show-time comes around. Above the desk are a number of shelves – creaking and groaning under the weight of several hundred sewing and knitting pattern books.
Behind me stands a towering bookcase, filled to the gunnels with row upon row of books – mostly my books, but randomly mixed in with other books that people dumped in here. There’s everything from books about chess, to physics, UFOs, mathematics, biographies of film stars, comics, and a huge number classics. Just looking now, I can see “Stranger in a Strange Land” alongside “Snow Crash”, “Neverwhere”, and “Stig of the Dump”. There’s also a number of comic books books tucked in the shelves – among them “Death Note”, “Neon Genesis Evangelion”, and of course “Watchmen”. Finally, a number of DVDs seem to have collected on the shelves over the years – box sets that have been half watched, such as “Melrose Place”, and “Ghost in the Shell”.
I nearly forgot. To my far left stands a dolls house, on the floor. It is one of two dolls houses belonging to my other half. The better dolls house is in our bedroom – this one was made for her by her Grandfather when she was young – it’s by far the stronger of the two, obviously made to survive a younger child playing with it. One day we will renovate it – re-decorate it, and fix the wiring that runs to various lights throughout the rooms. At the moment the rooms are filled with old ADSL routers, shoe boxes, and random collections of brick-a-brack.
So there you have it. The junk room. I’m sitting in the middle of the described miscellany in one of two office chairs, typing on the old PC that continues to whir and crunch under the desk. If I’m not writing from distant hotel rooms, this is the place the blog posts usually eminate from. Now you know.