We visited our daughter in St. Paul over the weekend. As we were standing in her apartment, I asked, “What should we do?”
She looked at me and said, “Well, the last time you were here, I didn’t think we spent nearly enough time at IKEA.”
And then she laughed. Just in time, too, because I had already started to feel the darkness rise in my soul.
For those of you who’ve never been there, IKEA is a giant store completely full of things I don’t care about. We’d gone there to help her pick out a piece of furniture and in the process, one of the basic mysteries of the universe raised its ugly head once more. This is how it happened. We stood in the middle of a giant room, full of stuff to spend money on, and my wife said, “We need a couch.”
Here’s the thing. We already had a couch.
Now, if we didn’t have a couch, it would have made perfect sense to say, “We need a couch.”
But if you have a couch, what’s the point of looking for a new one?
Nothing good comes of buying furniture. You know what happens when you get new furniture? First thing is, you’re not allowed to sit on it while you’re eating, lest you spill some salsa or mango juice and stain it - not that that’s ever happened.
Old furniture? No one cares. If your furniture is old enough, you can build a fire on a seat cushion, use it to make a grilled cheese sandwich, and it’s no bother for anyone.
There are other advantages. For one thing, the lumps all match your lumps. Let’s say it’s a Saturday morning on a cold winter’s day when you don’t have much to do. You have a hearty breakfast and turn on the TV. If you have an old couch, one that is properly broken in with a few mango juice and salsa stains, you wiggle a couple of times until everything falls into place and then fall asleep watching “Die Hard.” If you have a new couch, you perch uncomfortably for a few seconds flipping through the channels. When you get to the cooking channel just in time to see the beginning of their “Salute to Brussels Sprouts,” you give up, put your work clothes on, and spackle the spare bedroom.
That’s no way to spend a Saturday.
Want to hear another problem with getting new furniture? What do you do with the old stuff? We used to give our old furniture to our kids, but now they all have nicer things than we do and they won’t take our old crap. A long, long time ago, another thing you used to be able to do is have a party, make a big bonfire, and throw the old chaise lounge into the inferno. Smoke would billow and the onlookers would cheer.
You really can’t do that sort of thing anymore – toxic fumes are bad for the environment. Besides, no one will come to a party at our house anyway.
I think that when someone broaches the concept of new furniture, the simplest solution would be to go to the store, look at the prospective couch, and light it on fire right then and there, thus saving a lot of time and probably some lower back pain from furniture moving.
Then go home and take a nap.
Maybe spill a little salsa first.
Copyright 2012 Brent Olson