I thought I would share a slender slice of life with you that happened to me just the other day. After which I will rant for a moment or two. It's always helpful to have an itinerary so one knows the best place to disembark.
My mother and I were sitting in the living room each in our respective chairs and in our own worlds. She was knitting some slipper socks and I was beading my way into the hearts of millions. I heard the porch door close and a knock at the back door. Without a word of prompting the door opened and in walked a married couple around my age and friends of long standing to my mother. After the exchange of greetings the next words out of the mouth of the husband were "You need to get a couch."
Thus begins the ranting portion of our story. Feel free to safeguard any dairy products residing in your fridge from curdling.
Somewhere in the shifting sands of my five top pet peeves is any conversation that starts with or contains the question "You know what you need?" or the imperative "You need to......." That ranks up there with "It's not fair." Let's be clear about this for future reference. The only thing I NEED to do is breathe. And even that is optional. I confess I prefer it to not breathing.
Of course the next logical move in this intellectually stimulating exchange was for me to ask why I needed a couch. I so wanted to be illogical for once but it had been a very uneventful day and the snow had made me kinda antsy. "Why do I need a couch?" I queried ever so benignly. The poor man gave me that look that says he is stunned and baffled by my ignorance on so obvious a topic. "Because everyone has a couch." he chimed (in the key of d'uh).
I should tell you that there are four wing-back chairs beside my mother's electric orthopedic recliner and my famous throne chair in the living room. We rarely have more than two guests at any given time and they usually make themselves at home around the kitchen table. I believe there is more than adequate seating in any room of the house where anyone would be inclined to sit.
I gave this insightful observation on his part enough time to sink in--or rather down--amongst the tumble-weeds of cat hair migrating across the hardwood floor. Seemed to be the most logical place to archive it. I then shared with him my views on the impracticality of couches, sofas, and love seats. First of all, most pieces of furniture that size are meant to seat at least three people. When was the last time you had that many people parked side-by-side in your living room? Especially if there were other seating options available? Generally, people sit at either end leaving the middle empty--effectively turning a multiple seating unit into two one-seat units--otherwise known as chairs. By not having a couch I have eliminated three feet of wasted space thus reducing my carbon footprint on the home decor portion of the planet. Besides, as I again benignly pointed out to him, a couch or sofa encourages the lolling about when there's work to be done and only inspires lethargy. If you're that bloody tired, go to bed. Taking up space and selfishly inconveniencing other members of the household was not a practice MY family was prone to. And people that can't bare to be separated from one another in someone else's living room should stay at home. I did concede that having a couch did come in handy when one had more guests than beds. And even then only in an unforeseen emergency--blizzards, shipwrecks, telling your spouse they DO look fat in that outfit etc...
Seamlessly, the conversation segued to coffee and baked goods and everyone emigrated from the couchless living room to the warm delights of the kitchen. Where there are plenty of chairs to go around.
After making Juan Valdez and Betty Crocker proud they departed. While clearing away, my mother chided me by saying I 'needed' to be more diplomatic when guests come. I suppose it was the nano-second it took for my head to spin 180 degrees and the fear of projectile pea soup in her direction that prompted her to modify her reproach before I could draw breath. "I mean, you SHOULD try to be more diplomatic....." She's right of course. It's ungenerous of me to treat a guest like the couch-hugging slug he is when he comes uninvited to our home and offers unsolicited advice. After all, he was only stating the obvious and trying to improve the quality of my life. If and when I ever pay them a courtesy call I will make it a point to leave a generous contribution of kind words at their altar to obligatory good taste and conformity. While wasting five feet of it by sitting smack in the middle. Hey, it's their footprint--not mine.
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