I’ve long been obsessed with learning about what makes the iconic and visionary tick. Many of these pioneers have long been identified by their eccentricities and extraordinary quirks. After all, marching to the beat of your own drummer is arguably prerequisite to making a meteoric cultural impact. And while the anomalies that contribute to greatness pique my curiosity, I’m most fascinated by their slips into the prosaic. What are the metronomic essentials providing the rhythmic undercurrent to their vibrant melodies?
For most of us, lunch is a mere pitstop, a necessary inconvenience. Nothing reaches the depths of ordinary more than the “office lunch”, that which is taken at your desk and likely involves an unremarkable sandwich or, worse yet, an unevenly hot tray of gelatinous goo posing as lasagna. I was thrilled when I found the lunch instructions of the legendary Diana Vreeland, proving that even the most captivating individuals had to slog through an office lunch on their way to immortality.
Mrs. Vreeland always took her lunch at her desk and it was always ordered in from the equally legendary William Poll. A simple sandwich, raisins and black coffee - it’s hard to see any difference between D.V. and oneself, except for perhaps the Scotch and cigarettes. She even ate her sandwich from a napkin, no plate. And if I’ve learned anything from studying the routines of these folks, it’s that having order and routine in the most trivial details is essential. It’s as if having ultimate control of the minutiae helps clear the fog for one’s genius to radiate. I don’t know that I’ll ever be in a position where someone is tasked with arranging my desk on the regular, but if I do, I will be sure to have a highly specific diagram to help guide them.
(Illustration of Diana by Miyuki Ohashi, which can be purchased from Buddy Editions. Lunch instructions and desk diagram courtesy of Diana Vreeland: Immoderate Style.)