Friday, May 21, 2010
Last Thursday I took a vacation - in my rocking chair on the front porch. I read a book. I rocked. I took my sweater off for the first time in five months. And though the yard was serene and the breeze clement, I jerked with guilt every few minutes. The baby was asleep and I had no deadlines that were too pressing; dinner was burbling in the crockpot, the washing machine chugged in the basement and three whole hours lay between now and picking up the boys at school and ferrying them to piano lessons and baseball games. None of which padded the sharp certainty that there was something, somewhere, I should've been doing. The book: So Much For That by Lionel Shriver. The sun: aglow. The chair: during a playdate at my friend Meg's house I admired the upside down chair in their backyard. She said, "Want it?" and before I could refuse she'd thrust it into the back of my minivan. And it has lived on our porch in gentle service ever since. It's a kind chair that never feels on the verge of tipping over like some rocking chairs I know. It doesn't mind a bit of damp; its skin is already blistered and peeled, there's not a whole lot worse we can subject it to. Eventually it will fall apart. Eventually it will no longer be safe for a half hour vacation. But for now I rock, I read, I sip whatever drink the time of day calls for and I try to ignore those shivers of near panic that somehow, by sitting, I'm falling behind.
When M and I lived in our first apartment, most of our furniture was inherited from relatives and generous friends. Two pieces came from a shopping trip to IKEA. One was an iron stand we kept in the kitchen, named Omar. The other was a black metal-framed chair called Gunther. When a friend was over one evening, she was appalled to learn that the green chair I had inherited (from a previous boyfriend's sister) had no name. She sat in the round, green, expansive seat and pronounced her Estelle. Since then I have kept with the tradition. In our years together M and I have since brought home Oskar, Irving and Eudora. Sadly there isn't much room for them in our little house; they've been relegated to the enclosed, covered porch under a sheet. I like to think of them as if they are convalescing, chattering amongst themselves. Awaiting the next teatime and the move to a bigger house,where they will once again be spread amongst the rooms providing comfort to anyone who needs it.