What on Earth Goes on in This Room?

Ben Affleck’s apparent home office contains a massive steamer trunk, a soda fountain, an old-timey phone, and general chaos. Photo-Illustration: by The Cut; Photos: Getty Images

It has come to my attention that Ben Affleck conducts his business in chaos, or at least that is my takeaway from a new Instagram post by Jennifer Lopez. On Sunday, she shared a slideshow tribute to her fiancé (they recently became re-engaged, during bath time, remember?) in honor of Father’s Day, and in between the paparazzi pics and selfies of the couple, J.Lo wedged in a revealing little gem. “This is the best time of my life,” she says in a voiceover accompanying the presentation. “I love my career but nothing is more fulfilling to me than being able to build a family with someone I love deeply.” Cut to Affleck, sitting in what I assume is his home office and beaming, despite the entropy his surroundings betray. Behold:

I like this photo because of its sinister aura, and its suggestion of interrupted, illicit computing. But it tells only one part of the story. There is the soda machine — very arresting, with fountains for both Diet Pepsi and Mountain Dew; the Dunkin of gas-station bevs — and there is the photo-studio lighting and there are the blackout curtains and then there is the total lawlessness lurking just outside of frame. A darker truth reveals itself as we zoom out:

A screen grab of Affleck, happily computing, from J.Lo’s Father’s Day Instagram post Photo: jlo/Instagram

Just what in the hell does this man do in this room? What might he be hiding inside his massive steamer trunk, and why is it jammed so close to his desk? How is a person supposed to maneuver, comfortably or at all, in so large a chair and so tight a space? What happens when the boxed (?) phone located inconveniently behind his back begins to ring? Surely he does not expect me to believe he simply swivels around to answer it on the fly without banging the shit out of his knees? Also, what is the phone’s deal, generally speaking? Is it an artifact from Argo? Gigli? Is it even plugged into the wall?

The vibe is very basement dad, but I suppose it makes sense for a guy who is not infrequently photographed fumbling like 30 iced coffees at once. Clearly whatever goes on in there (composing his flirty emails?) brings him great joy. Look at that smile. Look at that little briefcase.

What on Earth Goes on in This Room?