Saturday, September 11, 2010

Chaise your dreams

The middle-aged woman singing along to “Part-Time Lover” at Value Village gave me a sense that all was right in the world. I was wearing a leopard print cowboy hat on a trial basis, failing to steer clear of the store’s Halloween and knickknack sections and keep my eyes on the prize of furniture. I don’t need more kitschy figurines. I need a couch.
That afternoon I’d visited a couple of other furniture stores, consignment places with nice stuff but nothing I couldn’t live without. I had a mini-meltdown in a record store that used to sell quite a bit of furniture. I pointed to a chair in the window, one of the few pieces left in the store’s inventory. The guy working register quoted a price, then scoffed at my “Really?” There’s nothing like closely packed stacks of vinyl records to make me feel uncool in my marrow. I don’t like to bargain, and the window chair just wasn’t worth it.
I felt even farther from Operation Dinner Party.
Would all the furniture I need be either too expensive or too hip to belong to me?
I visited a couple of thrift stores to console myself. I say “I,” but it was “we,” because John has been in town this weekend and he’s supportive of my goal to achieve a baseline level of civilization in my apartment. Enough civilization to host a small dinner party.
As of this weekend, though, I am one step closer: I now have a bathroom door.
And also I have somewhere else for potential guests to sit. While I taught my Friday class, John assembled my IKEA chaise and little yellow table. For a couple of months, the components of the chaise languished as a 48 kg box in my moving pod and then in my living room.
Last fall I went through a period of trying to prove my independence by assembling IKEA furniture. Remains from this period include a white bookcase with a backwards shelf showing its rough rather than finished edge, and a white rolling file cabinet that came apart when I moved it out of my old apartment (I could put all the pieces back together again, though).
John holds a squirmy Dickens in my new old chair.
I didn’t want to mess up my chaise with legs coming out of the sides or the cushions hopelessly screwed to the frame.
IKEA furniture is like baking, I’ve discovered: there is a tipping point of no return. The cookies become charcoal, or the table faces its destiny as a stubby forlorn hat sorter.
For most of my life, I’ve been indifferent about furniture. This chaise, though, chose me and wanted to help me start my post-student life.
Thanks, John, for helping me realize my dream of corduroy lounging! 

1 comment:

  1. Unpacking my own boxes, I found a misshapen little silver plug... a remnant of the IKEA furniture I tried to "help" you with by beating it with a hammer until the pieces bent out of shape. :)