Yesterday I brought my writing table indoors. I started the day writing outside, just as I’ve been doing every morning for the past four months, when I realized I was constantly sticking my hands in my jacket pockets to warm them up. This may be the earliest in the fall I’ve ever moved in. 

My indoor writing space is directly opposite the window from my outdoor writing space. The view from the two spots is the same. The only difference is when I look at the road, the trees, and the houses from the inside, it is through a large double pane of glass. Staring through the glass this morning, I saw frost on the ground. It is as if I went away for a short vacation last week and came back to autumn. I would bundle up on the porch with the same clothes I wear for my bicycle rides, except I can’t type with gloves on. Writing longhand with gloves works slightly better, but it still feels clumsy enough to disrupt the flow of my prose. In the dead of winter I sit indoors and am glad I’m not in the bitter cold. In early October, I still want to be outside.

Once I decided to move indoors, it took me two quick trips to carry the card table and chair from the front porch into the living room. With just enough room to squeeze the table between the window and the living room sofa, I was back to work in the time it would have taken me to refill my coffee cup. A few minutes later, however, Manyu walked into the room and deemed my placement of the table unacceptable. It was jammed so tightly against the sofa that I had to step over the sofa’s arm to get to my chair. Manyu told me I was too old to be climbing over furniture every day. She grabbed her cellphone and brought up a photograph of my indoor writing space from a year ago. The arrangement of furniture in the photo looked just like the arrangement of furniture now in the room, except a year ago I’d somehow created a narrow aisle between the table and the couch. For the next hour, Manyu and I moved sofas, end tables, and floor lamps until we’d replicated the photo exactly. 

Still I have no reason to complain. Manyu lets me sully the decor of our living room with a battered card table and a mismatched chair. I’d buy a small writing table if I came across one I liked, but so far I haven’t found anything as functional as what I have.

Steven Simpson