Friday, November 13, 2015

Crazy chair lady

My husband and son think I'm insane with my craigslist addiction, my need to scour the listings for things I must have. Our tiny home bursts at the seams, trying to hold all of my fantastic finds. Oh, for a storefront, to help other [literally] poor, wayward home-shoppers find just the right items to make them smile each time they gaze upon their own abode.

But it's the chairs that really break my heart, people. The chairs.

I am a crazy chair lady. I cannot pass the sad, abandoned pieces on the roadside without a deep sigh, or (if they look promising) a quick-as-I-can U-turn to further peruse the cast-off.

I cannot tell you (and would be too embarrassed to tell you, even if I could) the number of times I've tried to save homeless chairs. I truly cannot help myself; it is an illness. I acknowledge this. Our home has been an ongoing parade of ever-changing chairs, from my single days onward... But I can't leave them, alone and unused. It's a crime to me. Even if I merely play the part of deliverer, hoisting them into the trunk of the Honda, where they hang out halfway, bungie-corded into submission, whilst I drive them to the "chair rescue" (Goodwill)... I drop them off in hopes that someone else can finish the mission I've begun.

What is it about chairs? Especially small ones—those petite resting places, so hard to find in modern furniture stores, where the entire showroom floor is awash in gargantuan, overstuffed monsters that wouldn't fit through our front door. Those diminutive forms, the ones that hug you when you sit down? Those are my chairs. When they rock or swivel? I sigh with delight. The low profile styles are my favorite. Even sweet wood dining chairs, or stools, the precursors to poufs... All of them make my heart go pitter-pat.

And I am sickened when I think of them languishing in a landfill. Why?! Why do I care so much? They are not alive. They have no souls, no feelings. But it breaks me. Secondhand stores, flea markets, yard sales–in each one, there hides a sad assortment of haunch holders that have been left behind in the rush to clutter our homes with chairs-and-a-half. What body could possibly need more than a single chair? No one will sit with you in that spacious, oversized mockery! Even if they did, what would it matter? Real intimacy can only be found when close proximity is chosen within a tight space.

So, my life's work has been reduced to this: save the chair. The cute little boudoir chair, the darling mid-century slipper chair, the dear barrel chair, the unaccompanied desk chair... All alone, all still full of purpose, some with weary upholstery but sporting those fabulous bones, and begging for a bright new interpretation.

Won't you join me? Better yet, for cryin' out loud: won't you be my patron? My kingdom for a storefront!

1 comment:

chris h. said...

We have acquired WAY more chairs than we can use or that fit in our house. And we are not good at making selections. The dreaded "chair and a half" (purchased on clearance along with a coordinating sofa) that worked in my townhouse did not fit here at all. It languished in the attic until I gave it to my niece last year (but we'd lived here for 9 years). We purchased two living room chairs with money from Mike's parents for our wedding -- we ended up hating them and gave them to Mike's parents, who put them in their den. We traveled 3 or so hours to pick up an arts & crafts chair I found on eBay -- we recovered the seat, and it's languishing in the attic, too. I bought a chair I really love at a local antiques store -- it, too, is in the attic, because we don't have room for it because we bought 2 more arts & crafts chairs (way overpriced) at an antiques store that we almost never sit on. They look nice, but that's about it. Another chair we acquired from Mike's parents (perfect size, comfy, but not great fabric) became the cat's scratching post and now looks like a thrift store reject -- but it's still in the living room. Boy do I feel your pain!