Eben Weiss/BikeSnobNYC.

“As you can see, I’m one of those obsessive-compulsive neat freaks, and I have rarefied tastes.  I’m an enthusiastic collector of fine writing instruments, hence the mahogany pen case, and I purchased the ostrich leather desk blotter while on a literary tour of Europe.  The desk itself, a Chippendale, was a gift from George Plimpton, and the leather-bound volume you see in the background is an incredibly rare collection of anti-semitic screeds written by Agatha Christie.  Every morning, I dictate my blog to my typist while sipping tea—or, if it’s after 9:30, vodka.

Or, if you want the truth, I am and have always been a slob when it comes to work areas, and I’ve learned to simply surrender to it.  I once read something somewhere about how certain people work more efficiently in a mess, and while I wouldn’t say I’m efficient I would say that I find the process of being tidy distracting and that I generally know where to find things when I need them.  As for what’s on the desk (or, more accurately, repurposed kitchen table), it’s mostly just piles of stuff.  The computer display is actually hiding the worst of it (and there’s lots more behind me too) but there are all sorts of things: important documents; magazines; appliance chargers; electrical tape; things I intend to mention on my blog or mentioned on my blog long ago and never bothered to move.  I tend to fidget with things while I think, so there’s always something fidgetable in easy reach—lately it’s been that little ball bearing retainer ring you see next to the keyboard.  (The little baby toy rings just wound up there, since I sometimes put my baby son on my lap and show him YouTube videos.)  Also, I flip coins to make decisions, so there’s usually one of those close by too.  As far as ergonomics, the whole setup is really uncomfortable, and as for the location of this mess it’s tucked away in a corner of my living room.

While I do fantasize about having some big, serene work area, the truth is that if I had one the mess would probably just explode to fill it and no matter what I’d wind up feeling cramped and rootbound.  Also, publishing a blog every day means sometimes you have to scramble, and over the years I’ve been forced to write posts in all sorts of locations that were far less ideal.  (Noisy, irritating vegan cafes and libraries peopled by the fragrant and senile come to mind.) And sometimes I do slip away to another secret work location which is considerably more calming and where I worked on a lot of my book.  In any case, I do keep my computer desktop neat and tidy, and as a writer in the 21st century I think that’s the desk that really matters.”


Eben Weiss writes the BikeSnobNYC blog, is a columnist for “Bicycling” magazine, and is the author of the book “Bike Snob” from Chronicle Books.  He’s at work on his second book and he lives in Brooklyn.

FROM YOUR DESKS: What do you think of all those fashion posed shots of New York fashion chicks in their clunky cruisers and aviators via the Sartorialist?

EBEN WEISS: I have absolutely no interest in looking at pictures of people’s outfits.

Follow on Twitter @: bikesnobnyc

1 Comment For “Eben Weiss/BikeSnobNYC.”

  1. Tony says:

    I had to rub my eyes when I saw the picture. Looks just like my desk…

    I’ll clean my desk and within a day there are at least two short stacks of paper starting to form. I’m not sure why this cycle continues every three months considering the next destination for the piles is usually the trash can. One of these days, I’ll master the art of being organized!

    Thanks for post and helping me feel normal!

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