Everyone likes to have a room to call their own, whole books have been written on the subject actually. We all need a little space that can be decorated, organized and inhabited just to our liking. Maybe it is a workshop or a shed, a studio or a sewing room. Maybe it is just a desk in the corner under a window with a laptop and a nice a window to gaze out of, maybe it is a comfy chair and a bookshelf full of well-worn paperbacks.
But on a small boat like Kate we have to forfeit such a place. There cannot be a room of one’s own when there is only one room and two people to inhabit it. And not only is there one room, there is only one of everything in that room; one sofa, one table, one place to hang clothes, one counter, one bed, one bathroom and one door ([in]conveniently not on the bathroom).
To eek out moments of solitude we use the time the other person is sleeping or absorbed in some activity, only then is the shared space our own for that short period of time. For me that is getting up with the sun and using that quiet time to get some writing done. I often sit in the cockpit with my coffee cup balanced on the combing and my laptop balanced on my lap, hardly ideal conditions. Watching this morning ritual for the past several years Steve recently came up with a plan to build me a writing desk, incorporating my favourite spot in the cockpit into his ingenious idea.
Unable to get me off the boat for a whole day without raising suspicion he unveiled his plan earlier this week. I was excited by the idea of finally having a desk but couldn’t quite imagine what he had planned. Slowly over the next couple days he found the bits and pieces he needed to complete the project, short of a nice piece of timber suitable for such generous gift. And on Thursday when I went up the road for a couple hours he built the prototype and installed it.
When I came back to the boat and climbed into the cockpit there it was; my tattered notebook and favourite pen held firmly in place with a bungy, my coffee cup to the side, and all the right pillows and cushions. All that was missing was me.
I slide into place and everything was perfect; the angle, the height…everything. It had literally been made for me. I blinked back tears.
Since that afternoon I have spent quite a bit of time at my desk, including now typing this post. It has made me think of my “usual spot” now as my favourite spot. The cockpit might not have walls or a door or a traditional window to gaze out of, but by making something as simple as a desk that can fold up and easily be put away Steve has not only given me a place to sit and write he has given me a room of my own.