You can keep the wraps on a straight man’s gay gene, but only for so long. Alan bought a chair this weekend, and spent most of Sunday rearranging furniture and rehanging pictures. (Maybe I need to rethink the significance of that leather jacket.) I’m hoping it’s not one of those things our biographer will take note of in hindsight — the chair-buying, that is:
“Tell me again why we’re buying furniture in the midst of an economic crisis.”
“Because that’s when it goes on sale.”
Can’t argue with that. And now, for the first time in my life, I have a recliner under my roof. When Alan and I bought our first house, his mother said, “I’d like to buy you two a chair.” I said, “Wow, great, thanks. No recliners, though.” Well. I might as well have slapped her face. There was the evidence, if she was looking for it, that her son had fallen in with one of those latte-sipping elitists. Recliners are as common in Defiance as televisions. Whereas I’m the daughter of a furniture salesman who wouldn’t have allowed one across the threshold at gunpoint.
I held firm, though. We ended up getting a very nice chair from Ethan Allen that didn’t recline but continues to serve us well and looks as good as the day it arrived. And now, almost 20 years later, designers have perfected the stealth recliner — no hideous overstuffed tuck-and-roll upholstery, no handle, nothing that screams La-Z-Boy. Just a little push and you’re reclining.
It’s a placeholder until my ship comes in and delivers an Eames lounge and ottoman. Or the sheriff’s deputy comes to evict us. Life is a coin toss; at least we’ll have a nice chair to sit on.
Now I have to go around vacuuming up little piles of plaster dust under the drill holes and wait for the coffee to sink in. In the meantime, a little light bloggage for a Monday:
David Pogue’s Tech Tips for the Basic Computer User, 90 percent of which you probably already know, but you’ll appreciate the 10 percent you don’t. I learned something, anyway.
Mark Bittman revisits the Easiest Bread in the World (which didn’t work for me, btw). Hope springs eternal; I’ll try it again.
For a good cry, call Gene, writing about old dogs:
I believe I know exactly when Harry became an old dog. He was about 9 years old. It happened at 10:15 on the evening of June 21, 2001, the day my family moved from the suburbs to the city. The move took longer than we’d anticipated. Inexcusably, Harry had been left alone in the vacated house — eerie, echoing, empty of furniture and of all belongings except Harry and his bed– for eight hours. When I arrived to pick him up, he was beyond frantic.
He met me at the door and embraced me around the waist in a way that is not immediately reconcilable with the musculature and skeleton of a dog’s front legs. I could not extricate myself from his grasp. We walked out of that house like a slow-dancing couple, and Harry did not let go until I opened the car door.
He wasn’t barking at me in reprimand, as he once might have done. He hadn’t fouled the house in spite. That night, Harry was simply scared and vulnerable, impossibly sweet and needy and grateful. He had lost something of himself, but he had gained something more touching and more valuable. He had entered old age.
And thanks to either Jolene or Moe, who found this story from the WashPost, which explains life in Michigan at this moment very well:
To understand why — and to understand Obama’s widening lead over McCain in a crucial state — is to see an American worker pushed to desperation. A Wall Street bailout for $700 billion dollars? After six years at Dollar General, Fleck earns $10.35 an hour and receives an annual raise of 25 cents. She gave up Fantastic Sams and now cuts her hair over the sink in the bathroom.
Michigan is in its eighth year of a ransacked economy that has lost 322,000 manufacturing jobs in this time. The state’s unemployment rate is 8.9 percent, the highest in the nation. The Pew Charitable Trust is predicting that one of every 36 homes in Michigan will fall under foreclosure by next year. The evidence is everywhere. Fleck’s son tells her that poachers are stripping metal and copper from abandoned houses. The family living next to her sister lost their home, leaving behind a deep freezer full of meat that began to rot and gas the neighborhood.
Finally, please don’t express another opinion about the Wall Street crisis until you’ve listened to “This American Life” this week. Podcast, stream, etc. here. This is Pulitzer-worthy journalism, only they don’t give Pulitzers for radio, so it’s Peabody-worthy, instead. This is a companion piece to “The Giant Pool of Money,” which explained the roots of the subprime meltdown better than anyone. Seriously: This is a required text.