End of an Era

I’m about to pack up my desk. For four years (almost to the day) this apartment has been the place I’ve returned to, to entertain, relax – and work. Even when I’ve been away for long periods, the same view out my office window has been waiting for me when I return. It seems somehow fitting that the first thing I unpacked when I moved here was my desk, and now it will be the last thing to be dismantled.

Of course I’m a “mobile worker.” After all, my academic work grew out of an interest in working in places other than homes and offices. I’ve hauled my laptop downtown, to the library, across the ocean, and into the living room. I’ve tried to find community in cafés, bars, and libraries, as well as in the long hallways of university departments. But this place seems to invite writing and thinking, even now that the files are on servers and the books are in boxes.

I’ll be unpacking the boxes in another home office with another view (these days, of the blooming lilies I planted in a fit of procrastination in January). But also, for the first time in a long time, I’ll also be working in an office. As a visiting fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute, I’ll have to leave my cozy home office three days a week and go sit in a room with other people. It’s an exciting proposition, after the isolation of writing.

Even more exciting (and terrifying) is the whole matter of moving to a new country permanently rather than temporarily. No more Montreal pied à terre. No more splitting time between a city I love and one that terrifies me. Time, perhaps, for a new kind of love affair, and a new kind of life.

For now, for the last little while that I can, I’ll be sitting here in my sunny home office, writing and thinking, looking outside at a wonderfully familiar view.