Senior Staffer Levi Cohen on the lengths he will go to in order to avoid sitting at his desk.

A tale of three heights

I’m a simple man with simple pleasures. I like studying anywhere that isn’t Butler, a smoke-free Dodge Hall, and Burt’s Bees lip balm. But what I love most of all is sitting and resting my head dramatically on a window. I eat that shit up. Any chance I get to be in a window seat on a train or a plane, looking out or down at the world, imagining that I’m the lead character in a HBO limited dramedy series… that’s the good stuff. Nine times out of ten, you can find me leaning my forehead pensively against glass. What glass? Any glass.

But here’s the deal, Emile. Where I currently live (the chic and on fleek Schapiro Hall) seems to be conspiring against me. See, the windowsill of my window (lovingly pictured above) is nowhere near wide enough to accommodate even the most petite mademoiselle. Now, ordinarily, that could not and would not deter me. You see, the fine architects of this building thought to install the heating unit directly beneath the window. Perfect, I said, last September, before I knew better, before I’d been burned (figuratively, not literally). I’ll just sit on the heater, rest my elbow on the windowsill, and glass-lean to my heart’s content.

Here’s the catch, dear reader: my heater is barely wide enough to accommodate one of my legs. It pains me to say this, but I have spent many hours sitting on the heater where I am currently writing this article with one ass-cheek and leg dangling off the side. At first, a solution seemed to immediately present itself: just as I had to move from sill to heater, surely my nearby desk (also pictured above) could provide purchase for my other half. Here is where cruel, capricious Fate rears her ugly head: my desk is about an inch and three quarters taller than the heating unit, enough of a difference to be uncomfortable and to make desk-heater straddling an impossibility for more than five or ten minutes at a time.

Modern problems, as they say, require modern solutions. I’ve stacked books on the heater to try and level it out with the desk. I’ve dragged my desk chair directly alongside the heater to provide an inferior ledge for my dangling leg. I’ve sat perpendicular to the window, my back against it, my legs shooting straight out across my desk. A million tiny adjustments, a million disappointments: there is simply no true way to fix this absolute travesty of modern seating mechanics. Everyday, I assume this position atop the heater, this Hunchback of Notre Perch, and I sigh to myself: there should have been another way. The heater could be taller, the heater could be wider, the windowsill itself could have been wider. Coulda shoulda woulda. There is only the insufferable now, the dark reality of our world.

Come May, when I vacate this room for greener pastures (assuming my lottery number doesn’t screw me over), I’ll pause in the doorway one last time. I’ll look at the heater/desk/windowsill that so disappointed me, time and time again. I’ll think of the times I sung to myself on that imperfect perch. And I’ll say, “Heater… I barely knew ‘er.”

All photos via Levi Cohen