Kozelsky: Aesthetics versus comfort | Columnists
How many people didn’t realize until the pandemic that their furniture is really uncomfortable?
It sure happened to us.
In fact, right now I’m sitting on a hard, bumpy surface, my arm and shoulder straining from reaching an odd angle to use the mouse on the side table.
It’s even worse because the computer wobbles back and forth with every keystroke. I can’t move my left arm because the cat is lying on it, and sometimes it pushes my computer a little too far to one side or the other, and my right arm is stretched above the cat to reach the mouse.
Such are the pleasures and complaints of working from home – something most of us never even imagined before the pandemic made it a way of life.
What’s worse is that I’m sitting uncomfortably in whatever comes closest to our chair. If it’s easy, the rest of the furniture is quite a challenge.
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See, I got furniture based on how much I liked the look of it. It never occurred to me to try it before buying it.
And since I rarely sat at home, it took me years to notice that it wasn’t exactly comfortable.
For years I had a little girl. If anyone used the furniture, she was the one who sat on it while I cooked, washed the dishes and cleaned the house. When I wasn’t doing chores, we’d play together with toys strewn on the floor, her princesses and ponies in a little kingdom or fancy porcelain dolls from Grandma’s collection shopping among the shelves in the kitchen. miniature grocery store full of little fake plastic and cardboard foods that I used to play with when I was little.
But we would never be inside if the weather was good enough to go outside.
Now I have a big daughter who hasn’t played on the floor in ages. Instead, we sit on the furniture with our board games or cards and more often our iPad laptop and school report and, of course, cats.
The first times I noticed my furniture was uncomfortable was when we had male visitors. You see, I love this fussy Victorian furniture with smooth velvet upholstery and intricate wood carvings. It’s fine for a mother and daughter, but it felt too small and feminine when a man, like my father or the preacher, sat down for a visit.
In fact, the time the preacher arrived, he and I looked around in dismay: Where would he be sitting?
Sitting down is the easy part, but you can’t sit down first without having made your plan for getting up.
Were people much smaller a century ago when this furniture was made, or have cushions made of hay, horsehair, wool and cotton compressed and shrunk over time? decades?
Yes, I know exactly what’s in my furniture, because once I sat down with a pen in my pocket. It left a hole that got worse, and now learning to stuff is one of the many things on my to-do list dangling over my head.
The couch was out. The preacher was a big man, and the seat was low but the arm was high: No place to hold on.
My great-grandmother’s bentwood rocker is an impressive piece of art, but looking at it makes sitting on it seem like an adventure not for the faint-hearted.
He chose the chair I’m in now. He’s low to the ground, but his arms are low too, so when it’s time to get up, you can prepare by holding onto each arm, pushing, and hoping you get it right the first time.
So that’s where I am, trapped in this low, deep-backed chair, and even though I’m sitting on a pillow, my knees still come up a bit too high for comfort. (Yes, I have a real work desk in the other room, but I prefer to be where there’s sun and action.)
The Old Hound can escape any outdoor fence. The shock collar, which is working wonders on the other dog, doesn’t seem to phase her, perhaps because the skin on her neck is so thick and supple that it doesn’t feel deterrent enough. And she could dig all the way to China to get out from under the garden fence we erected just for her.
However, this Houdini of a dog has one obstacle: she can’t figure out how to get through a door that isn’t open as wide as her body.
She will stand in front of a half-open door and whine and bark incessantly until someone opens it for her. Sometimes it’s the other dog or cat, who walks right past her and pushes open the larger door, and she follows, looking relieved.
So here we are. I’m trapped in this commitment of a chair that has such a hard time getting in and out that once you’re in it it’s best to stay put – with the added barriers of chat and computer on my lap, and the side table supported by mouse, phone, calendar, and coffee cup.
I have to weigh what’s more complicated: listening to the barking and hoping another pet or my daughter comes through and opens the door wider, or gets out of that chair.
You’ve seen the results of that decision: it’s easier to stay in that low, lumpy Victorian chair and bang on the problem than to get out of it and open the door.
Holly Kozelsky is the editor of the Martinsville Bulletin. She can be reached at [email protected] and 638-8801 ext. 2430.