rolling chair

by Kristen

As a person of short stature working at a desk of fixed height, I keep my chair raised high enough to type without getting carpal tunnel syndrome . . . which means my feet don’t touch the floor.

First world, short person problem. I know.

When my coworker asks me to look at something on his monitor, I give a healthy push against the desk to propel my chair back so I can see around the cubicle wall. It’s good exercise. This morning I pushed off and my chair started tipping instead of rolling. Wheeled office chairs don’t tip on industrial, low-pile carpeting, so I assumed I had leaned too far without pushing hard enough. Clearly the solution was to put more arm into it and really shove.

Turns out I did not need more power. A larger shove resulted in nearly launching myself out of my seat. The problem wasn’t one of force but one of hardware: a wheel had broken.

The chair was never going to roll. Even if I were the right height and heft to fit in the chair and even if I used the right technique and pushed with my feet instead of my hands, the chair would still be broken. It would still tilt when I need it to roll.

It only took one near unseating for me to change my strategy. Trying harder—using the same method—wouldn’t work. I didn’t have to prove the chair’s failure over and over.

The world—like my chair—is broken. The more force, the greater the tilt. Yet shove after shove after shove . . . it’ll roll again, right?


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