Style, Function, Cats and a Husband


We have a chair that’s bleeding.

Each time I walk past it, I remember my Medieval lit classes where we read of statues or religious icons that would upon occasion spontaneously start hemorrhaging.  These seemingly miraculous events would increase the tourist trade in small villages throughout early Europe.  Flocks of pilgrims would pack up their bags and take off on foot, traveling long and arduous journeys to go and stare in wonder and awe, and if lucky, to come home with a tiny relic or tee shirt as a souvenir.  The villagers were often extremely proud of their bleeding statue for it was a significant money-maker for the village or church that owned it.

Unfortunately, we have no pilgrims knocking at our door, begging for a piece of kapok.  If only I could invest the trail of chair stuffing that dots the living room carpet with the power to fill husbands everywhere with a love for furniture shopping.  Women would journey far and wide to our apartment for a tiny piece of the chair’s stuffing.  Ticket sales would land me on the cover of Forbes.

This chair was doomed from the start.  I had just purchased and remodeled my first condo when I bought it.  I filled my new space with lots of cool angles and shiny surfaces of glass and mirror–obviously this was my pre-DH period.  In fact, I overheard the delivery men laughing as they delivered my dining table. “She obviously doesn’t have kids living here.”  His partner quipped, “Or a man.”  I didn’t care.  Form and style are supposed to be a single girl’s hallmark.

Form and style are like those super cool pals who show up at 2 in the afternoon bearing bottles of champagne.  You know nothing good can come of this, but at least it’s going to be a lot of fun, and in this case, pretty.  I found a postmodern table that deconstructed the whole notion of what defined a dining table; namely, function.  My new table consisted of a thin sheet of clear glass that rested on two clear glass sawhorses…practical?  Functional?

Hardly, but the table was totally amazing to look at.  It reminded me of a sleek fashion model.  Unfortunately, I soon discovered how high maintenance that chick was.  She turned the seemingly simple everyday occurrence of sitting down to eat a bowl of cereal into a nightmare.  Any meal or snack ended with 45 minutes spent with a cloth and a bottle of glass cleaner, to furiously attack smudges.  And just like some severely underweight but elegant super models, the table was more than a little unstable.  The sheet of glass precariously shifted whenever more than one person sat or walked past it.  I quickly developed the habit of eating at the kitchen sink while looking over to admire the table.

Before I got married, Function was that poor second cousin who lived out in the country.  The second cousin who was rarely invited to come visit, except for holiday dinners, and only then, because in your heart of hearts, you felt sorry for his lack of vision.

Clearly, Function had gone back home to his well-stocked and sturdy cabin when I bought the now bleeding chair.  Like my super model dining table, this chair could have easily posed for the cover of Architectural Digest, or one of those spiffy Italian design journals.  You know the ones with pictures of kitchens or bedrooms that never see children, cats or straight men.  Unfortunately, at least for the chair, I soon acquired two of the three, a straight man and cats.

The chair, I hate to admit, was doomed from the start.  Its fatal beauty is what lead to its early death.  Now, ff you look closely at the remaining upholstery, you can see that it still has hint of glam from its subtle shimmer of deep bronze raw silk from Thailand.  When I saw the chair in the show room, it was love at first sight.  I wanted to hug it.  I later learned that doing so, as would sitting on it, would be a bad thing.  Raw silk stains with dizzying speed.  I would have a series of mini-strokes when friends would plop down, a glass of red wine or box of chocolates or anything edible propped on their lap.  One hand would instinctively clutch my chest while the other would reach for the fabric cleaner —I soon stopped buying anything but bottled water to serve guests.  But stains were the least of my worries.

Patrick, our big fluffy one, is a Birman, a breed that can be traced back to ancient Siam, present day Thailand.  I had no idea the silk chair would make him homesick.  Our other cat, Bongo is a tabby with street smarts and a sense of cocky arrogance.  While Patrick is more demure, choosing to shred when humans are well out of screaming range, Bongo prefers an audience.  With a quick glance to see if anyone is watching, and if satisfied by our turnout, Bongo will start shredding.  Once his audience starts to shout, he runs and zips around behind the chair for an encore performance only to skitter out of the room with (I swear) a huge grin.

The chair could still do a cover shoot; just now it would be one of those covers for a grocery store tabloid depicting the horrid remains of someone who had met their untimely end by being mauled by a pack of wild beavers from outer space.

When I got married, Function left his cabin in the country and came to live with me and DH.  In a fit of disgust, poor Form and Style have left for sunnier, if not sleeker vistas.  At one time, I was convinced that a room had to say something to you upon entering.  The décor should whisper, “The people who live here are cool”, or “These folk all mid-century warm and cozy.”   Clearly, like whistles only dogs can hear; that voice is beyond the auditory range of most men, my DH chief among them.  I put fingers in both ears to prevent what tales the chair says about us.

He’s content to push the chair up against the wall to hide the shreds.  This just caused the cats to refocus and work on the front corners.  DH even invested in nifty cat toy-festooned scratching posts that we line up to form a perimeter around the chair.  These are merely warm up stations before they get to good stuff.

For poor DH, Form and Style are strangers to be avoided.  They speak a strange language and laugh when he orders a coke at dinner.  Ironically, DH will fuss over shirt seams that fail to match, he will move pieces of a carefully arranged table-scape of candles and bowls, to a jumbled heap on a bookshelf, in order to make room for his feet as he watches TV.

I blame Function for all of this.  It’s not for lack of funds that the chair continues to bleed in the living room.  DH just brought home a huge flat screen TV—Function and he agreed that it was time to replace the old model.  Function convinced him that the new TV would work better with our cable system.  Whereas, my complaints about the chair are simply aesthetic, harkening back to my old companions, Form and Style.

Not giving up, I have lately started to encourage the cats to finish the chair off—a mercy killing, as it were.  When the final puff of kapok rolls across the carpet and a pile of shredded silk remains where the chair now sits, perhaps we will go shopping.  I know it!

No recipe today!  We ate like porkers—I can’t even think about food.

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Published in: Uncategorized on November 28, 2009 at 5:29 AM  Leave a Comment  
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