When I was in graduate school, I rented an apartment for $375 a month, in the kind of town where I should have been paying twice that or more. It was a weird place. It was in a scrupulously clean small complex, owned by an elderly couple. At some point, it had apparently been leased furnished. I had pastel blue carpet, and my living room had burgundy and blue wallpaper with cherubs on it.
For my $375, I got probably as many square feet, if not less. My kitchen was a stove and a refrigerator, side by side, and then you turned around and had that much counter space, minus a sink, on the other side.
In my living room, I had the choice between books and a sofa. I picked books. I had a desk chair and a burgundy Queen Anne chair, and if I had people over we sat in the floor.
The Queen Anne chair was actually a nice piece of furniture. One summer while I was in college, I worked at a Heilig Meyers furniture store as they were going out of business, and while I was there I bought the chair. My desk chair was not a nice piece of furniture. So, for five years, I did everything except watch TV sitting in this red chair. (My tiny TV had to sit on top of the dresser in the bedroom, because there was no room.) Homework, eating, teaching prep, computer work. Once, after a rough day, I sat down in the red chair to make biscuits, and sloshed buttery dough all over the seat. There’s still a stain. This chair and I, we have a sentimental relationship.
When Silas was a puppy, he also adored the red chair. For different reasons, of course. Namely, the bottom side of the red chair, perched up on its Queen Anne legs, is not upholstered, leaving its various layers of foam filling right there at puppy tooth level.
Silas was smart, even as a puppy. He would take a toy over to the red chair, drop it, and then crawl under the chair to get it. And while he was there, he’d grab a quick mouthful. Once I wised up, I had to switch the red chair with an uncomfortable IKEA thing from our upstairs office area, putting the red chair behind a baby gate.
Now, Silas is just confused by the red chair. I still go to sit there from time to time, even with it in our seldom-used office space. He doesn’t fit in it with me, like he does in the chair that matches our sofa. Unlike the IKEA chair, it doesn’t have an ottoman he can hop up on.
There’s only one thing he can do:
Sleep on my feet.