in the winter of 1989 (ie. 20 fucking years ago), my parents bought a giant-ass green couch from the damaged goods division of rich's department store in the after-season sale.
let's unpack that thought.
in their infinite wisdom, my dear beloved parents intentionally left the showroom floor where the intact, healthy furniture was, ventured to the shitty furniture quarantine and purposefully paid good money for something that had been publicly left for dead.
this is how we got the green couch.
i vividly remember it's arrival into our home, it's massive greenness shrouded in cellophane. i was 8. aside from the refrigerator we'd ordered when i was three and the water buffalo at the memphis fair, this was the biggest thing i'd ever seen. i thought it was the sarcophagus of kermit the frog.
the green couch was my father's response to my mum's prissy queen anne chairs and settees. she had those burgundy, breakable-looking things, he had this. a man couch. the hulk.
i remember this couch in his various libraries until they moved to memphis, at which point he upgraded to leather and the hulk disappeared, presumably taking up residence in the corner of the attic entitled Things That Caroline Will Inherit When She Has Her Own Place And Is Desperate For Furniture And Is Therefore Willing To Take Furniture That Will Ultimately Be A Karmic Burden For The Rest Of Her Natural Life.
that moment of desperation came in the winter of 2005, at which point, i moved into my first real apartment, found my dormroom's worth of stuff severely lacking and in my stupidity actually begged for the hulk, which was enthusiastically handed down to me.
i promptly covered it in red and overlooked it's obvious shortcomings. the sheer size. the uneven cushions that seemed in constant conflict to break free from the couch's confines. the inevitable chasm created by their attempted escape and the subsequent cavern permanently strew with cheerios and cat hair. not to mention the sag of use that, upon prolonged inactivity, slowly drained one's lifeblood southward.
we had rescued the hulk from certain death and this was how he repaid us- with bad hygiene and blood lust.
but when one is committed one will overlook certain things. all in all, i was perfectly content with the hulk. free is always good and he'd been around for so long i never thought to factor him out of my life. even in my early adoration of the fainting couch, the hulk was still in the picture. the fainting couch was always intended for the The Other Room. yes, i was perfectly content until, with the recent addition of a kitchen/communion table and chairs, the hulk became a big, fat, fucking bother.
and now, suddenly, our relationship has soured. over the course of the past week and a half, i have cultivated such a loathing, such a blinding hatred for this couch. it destroys everything. for the first time i understand why the titanic's makers were so bothered by the clutter of lifeboats. at this point, i too would sacrifice human life to avoid such aesthetic upset.
i'm tempted to throw the whole mess out the back door, never mind that i'd be financially responsible for the stairway it would undoubtedly take out on the way down. to be rid of this blight would almost be worth it. almost.
my bitterness is only increased by the whole world of exciting sofas that would be opened up were the hulk to ever die. i come from an aesthetically oversensitive family, and as word circulated that the hulk had become an offense to an entire room, the barrage of clippings and snapshots and sketches of affordable couches from around the world began.
this has not only upped my couchlust, it has increased my stress.
because i have set the bar very high here. with my epic struggle over hand-me-downs and couches and the imagined burden of old things, i have defiantly forged a world order in which one can only buy furniture that will be agreeable to anyone who may ever ultimately wind up with it. but, let's be honest, how can one really be assured that a couch will be agreeable to the children of the children one has not yet had?