Monday, September 8, 2014

Drawing Inferences: What's In Your Desk Drawer?

Today's challenge asks me to consider what's in my desk drawer and to discuss what one can infer about those contents. But first, a little context. This is my first as a full-time faculty after being an adjunct since 2005. That accounts for the relative emptiness of my drawer and the disheveled desk and book shelves. I'm still moving in! Here goes: 

Chewing Gum: The drawer's owner must smoke (no) and/or drink coffee (like a fish). Perhaps he lunches on odorous foods (pepperoni pizzas, garlic, onions). The owner is highly conscious of incipient halitosis, and wants to protect those around him - students, office mates, colleagues - from possible bad breath. Or does he chew gum instead of snacking? After all, there are no other snacks in evidence. Verdict: Owner is given to multiple vices yet sensitive to others' sensibilities.

Scotch Tape: Adhesive tape is about connections, sticking objects together. In this case, the first thing I stuck on something else was my office hours to the door. Connections suggest linking disparate objects or concepts, making metaphoric connections, and associative thinking. I like that inference - makes me sound kind of clever. Or is the "stickiness" representative of tenacity, a "stick-to-it" mentality? The fact that the empty tape carton remains in the drawer suggest this teacher has hoarder tendencies, saving objects until the day they might be needed. Or he's a slob (somewhere in between; a healthy toggling back and forth between those two poles).  I think I'll leave the carton there to remind me of this challenge. The brand name suggests that the tape wasn't bought by the the owner as he typically buys office supplies from the 99 cent store. Verdict: Associative thinker. Tenacious. Rides the "cheap-thrifty" divide. 

Black Marker, licorice scented: Nary a pen or pencil to be found. Just a scented marker. If that's the only marking tool this teacher has in the desk, perhaps this teacher is completely digital (not yet). Perhaps this teacher likes to sketch anchor charts and posters (yes), but isn't all that creative, relying on a black-and-white palette. Is he or she a doodler (yes)?  The scented nature of the pen suggests a person who likes living in a sensuous world, which contrasts the basic simplicity of our "black-and-white" thesis and spareseness of the drawer. Or does this teacher have a thing for licorice (both). Verdict: What's up with a teacher with out pens, pencils and markers?  

My desk drawer is pristine compared to the mess I've got on my desk. Perhaps I'll do another one of these reflections later in the semester to see how the state of my office organization progresses (or declines). So what's in your drawer? What's the state of your desktop? Bookshelves? Any clear surfaces left? For those of you lucky enough to get your own desk, what suggestions do have on keeping a tidy desk without having to pay for a professional organizer?