I would imagine there are all types of people out there who would want to hire an interior designer. In fact, most of those would probably be men of indeterminate ages and backgrounds.
Here’s my view on this: if you’re like me and have outlived two wives, you find yourself staring at the same furniture sitting on top of the same carpet for nearly a decade. I would love to be able to do something else with it, but I just really don’t have any ideas.
The carpet was purchased during the height of shag’s popularity during the 70’s. We (my wife and I) decided that it was time to lose the bright orange that had come to define our living room and were looking for something more muted and less violently tropical.
Unfortunately, all the carpet stores were stocking the same variety of multicolored shag carpet, one which resembled a Motel 6 floor crossed with an underachieving Chia pet. But since we were in the market, we found ourselves with no other choice. It was either take home what was available and make the best of a life that would suddenly seem incredibly temporary or buckle down and spend another decade or so with our retina-searing orange magnolia pattern.
Another decade passed and we ventured out to the carpet stores yet again in hopes of finding something to replace the slightly-worn motel room floor, which had begun to attract Gideon Bible salesmen and conventioneers from across the country. Something about that dark blue mottled with multi-colored flecks seemed to make our lives (and the lives of our infrequent guests) seem transitory and budget-priced.
Things were no better in the ’80s. We headed into the Carpet Mart only to find our selection limited to black, white or black and white patterns. The salesman assured us that this was all the rage with the stock market folks and various effeminate band members. We told him that we just needed something sensible and earth-toned. Of course, we were at least a decade to soon, or we would have found ourselves wallowing in colors named after trees, geographic features and muted emotions.
We ended up taking home a basic black carpet, feeling that this would cover up most spills and possible stains. Unfortunately, our two white Persians soon turned the new carpet into an white-haired atrocity and the low pile was dense enough to defeat even the strongest vacuum cleaners of the day. (What I would have given for a Dyson in those days! Well, not the $400-$500 they’re asking for them, but definitely some sort of appreciable sum. I might even have broken out the Benjamin. We kept one in a booksafe for “emergency use only.”)
And to this day, that supposedly black carpet has remained, gazed at with a boredom that frequently borders on derision by both my cats and I. They seem to tolerate it because it highlights their fur so keenly. I tolerate it only because I know the work and expense involved would make me regret ever having taking the initiative to do anything about it.
And don’t get me started on the lamp. It’s a housewarming gift from the late ’60s and has all the discreet charm of a protest march. Its combination of pea soup green and gunmetal grey makes me yearn for a simpler time, like the period of four years where I went completely colorblind thanks to some unexploded fireworks I had stored in the garage which suddenly changed to exploded, thanks to some rather careless pipe movements on my part.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that there are potentially millions of people who need some help fixing the place up. I’m sure my experiences are not the exception to the rule. I’d look for some help myself but I made several promises to my late wife over the years, including the solemn oath that I would never let another woman rearrange her furniture. Or sit on her “side” of the couch. Nothing was said about the carpet, but the furniture would have to travel as far as the kitchen at least if that’s ever going to be changed.
Good luck out there.
Clifton L. Tanager