Kish is up in Cleveland for a family bridal shower, so I used a bright sunny afternoon to run errands — at the library, the post office, and the grocery store. As I walked around it was a pleasure to see so much brilliant color from yellow flowers, green lawns, and pink flowering trees. The colors make spring special after a dreary, monochromatic Midwestern winter.
For the most part, I think I’m a pretty capable person when it comes to the basics of American life. I may not be able to fix a car, but given enough time I can puzzle through the arcane 1040 tax form instructions, or load a moving van with reasonable competence, or do a load of laundry without turning everything pink.
But there is one area where I realize that I am far out of my depth: picking furniture and determining whether it “goes together” with other furniture or, say, a rug. In fact, I would go so far as to say that I am fundamentally furniture-challenged. So when Kish asks my opinion on a particular chair or end table or desk, I know that she is just being polite and humoring me, because no rational person would ever rely on my furniture opinions.
I never had to make a furniture decision until I got my first apartment during college, and my decisions were based entirely on what I could afford — which wasn’t much. Stylishness didn’t enter the equation, which was a good thing, because college life isn’t conducive to maintaining fine furniture unless fine furniture increases in value with beer bottle rings on every flat surface. And after college Kish and I lived with an eclectic collection of college remainders and other hand-me-downs that we were grateful to get until we bought a house — at which time Kish, fortunately, made all of the furniture decisions.
So here I am, in my late 50s, and I now realize that I am completely clueless in this basic building block of American life. Does this chair “go together” with this cabinet? You might as well ask me to perform a differential equation for the value of X prime.