Friday, July 06, 2012

Farewell Old Friends, You'll Be Fondly Remembered

These may look like an old couch, chair and table - but what you're really looking at is sacred history. Well, perhaps not sacred, or we wouldn't be donating them to make room for more up to date replacements.

The Couch. 14 years ago, when Shira I moved into our very first place (the cutest, loveliest rental-town home, for which we paid $690/mo or so) we had no furniture. Well, perhaps not *no* furniture: we had a bed (thanks Mom and Dad!), a folding bridge table and some folding chairs. That was it. We dutifully went and picked out a brand new couch (which we still have). As we were paying, we casually asked when delivery we be - assuming a few days. Nope, our couch would be ready in 12 weeks. 12 weeks?!
One day, during those 12 weeks, we were in a massive furniture store, that had a massive selection of clearance/one off pieces. I found this incredible "couch" in the bunch - it was a recliner, had vibrating seats and was super comfortable. It even had a speaker phone built into the center console! Oh yeah, it was this unfortunate green color. And it had one other minor flaw, it was only 2/3rds of a couch. Apparently, it was part of a sectional at one point in its life. Like a 5 year old, I begged and pleaded to allow Shira to let me buy it. She did so, on the condition that we would get rid of it shortly after our real couch arrived. Like I said, that was 14 years ago.
Ahhh, 2/3rds of a couch. You fit perfectly in our apartments and house. Nobody ever judged you for missing one side. Children of all ages had such joy climbing on you and turning on and off your vibrating seats and pressing your defunct telephone buttons. You will be missed.
The Table. Again, you have to go back 14 years or so to appreciate this table. Picture it - a house with no furniture in it. While we were getting settled in our new city, Shira took a gig doing temp work for an office furniture store. One day, an employee came in and quietly pulled Shira aside. In a hushed whisper, she explained that a mismatched table top had come in, and if she wanted it, it was all hers. The employee was also able to produce a mismatched, but perfectly acceptable table base to go with the table top.
That table top and base served first as our kitchen table, then as our dining room table and finally as a computer desk. It's turned out to be one of the most durable pieces of furniture we've ever owned, looking as good today as it did the day we were gifted it. I look at that tiny table and wonder how that was ever our main eating surface. But it was.
The Chair. Good news, you don't have to go back 14 years to learn the history of the chair. You just need to go back 12 -- back to 2000, when the tech bubble was going strong. I worked at AmazingMedia, where, like every other tech company, we had lots of employees and all the infrastructure we could ask for. That is, until the bubble burst, and people started getting laid off. As the company shrank, we downsized not just people but stuff. The result, I took home both my desk chair (which I sit on to this day), as well as this extra chair.
In some respects, this chair remains a cautionary reminder of what happens when you live beyond your means (people end up getting laid off). Since the fast and furious days of the 2000's, where designers creating (dare I say, "cranking out) templates sat, to many a quiet morning where I'd drink tea and catch up on e-mail, to sitting with our 1 year old and watching Pete Seeger's perform Skip To My Lou about a million times, to our 7 year old doing his homework on it, this chair has seen quite a bit of use. And through it, it's been rock solid.
The furniture we'll be replacing this with may be more polished, and, sure, the new couch may not be missing a side. But, still, these new pieces will come to us without soul. Still, I'm optimistic: given time, (say, 12 to 14 years), I expect the new pieces will be just as storied as the ones we're giving up today.


  1. emacs doesn't occur at all on in your post, perhaps consider having planet emacs setup for a feed an emacs label or something.

  2. I'm reminded of a quote from John Lennon: "Life is what happens when you're making other plans."

    Did you two race to see which one got the side of the couch with the arm?

    The big memories are fun; the little memories are life.

  3. OMG!! NOOOOO!!!! I feel like when Mommy took out the yellow shag carpet. *sobs* Goodbye, couch. You will be sorely missed!

  4. @Wraithan -- I didn't setup the emacs planet to point to my blog (though I'm flattered that they did).

    At a minimum, whoever did this, should have linked to:, which is where my programming (and emacs) related posts live.

    Thanks to everyone else who commented!