THE chair


I call it “the chair”, and I think of it in the masculine form. Far from being just any old piece of furniture in our home, “the chair” is a cherished item in our flat which never served its original function as a reading chair. It has always been sort of a storage space for my boyfriend’s clothes, with predictably chaotic results. Also predictably, I was always less than happy about that.

Let me be frank: the chair is an eyesore.
Why is it always covered with this, I can’t think of a better word, this shit?
It somehow became a stopover location for laundry on its journey from the laundry basket to the wardrobe, and clothes that aren’t quite fresh anymore but also not quite dirty yet inevitably land there. “These trousers are still good to wear”, I hear. If I ask why, in that case, it doesn’t go back into the wardrobe, I’m met with the response: “Because I don’t want them to mix with the clean stuff in there.” As if clothes, once worn, would immediately give off some kind of odor that sticks forever to fresh clothes. As if these “not-clean-yet-not dirty” clothes were kind of homeless in the society existing within our wardrobe, banned from participation, doomed to an existence on “the chair”, under the euphemistic premise that they’re there to air. And then there’s that sports bag, half of the contents of which are always scattered in the vicinity of that supposed reader’s oasis.

What the hell?

I hate this chair.

But I don’t really see an alternative to having it there. A basket? Won’t work. Some kind of chest? A cabinet? Hooks? Nope, no solutions there. The thing is, it’s probably my own fault. What the hell was I thinking when I put that chair in our bedroom? As if anyone was ever going to sit there. The bedroom is for laying down, for sleeping. Who was ever going to decide in that room that this was a moment to sit? It’s probably an innate problem with this kind of chair, you know, the type that gets handed down from generation to generation. My dad had a chair like that, my grandfather probably did too. I guess the concept crosses over from generation to generation just as easily as it seems to bridge cultures. Analogous models to my chairhere in Berlin probably exist in India, Namibia, Sweden and even in Marie-Condo-land Japan. It may be one of those rare universal items of humanity that we all can accept as a fact of life.

I wonder if the concept of a storage chair was already invented way back when people were still living in mud huts all over the world. Be that as it may, it rears its ugly head in mylife now, as an intermediary stop for a permanent and unsightly heap of garments, perfectly positioned in the Bermuda triangle between laundry basket, bed and wardrobe.

So, as more and more pieces of clothing merge into that shapeless pile, I am starting to accept “the chair” as some kind of safe space shielding the items that seek refuge on it from my OCD cleaning attacks. After all, we have this unspoken agreement at home, and the chair is “the chair”, untouchable. It’s like an embassy of the nation of not so fresh clothes, not quite an exclave, but operating under diplomatic protection. Maybe that’s why it gets on my nerves so much. It represents a sphere outside of my authority at home. I somehow have to live with it. It’s a monument of imperfection, and a stoic master teaching me patience every day. Maybe it also serves a mystical function as a guarantor of balance. Maybe there is no way around a “chair” in your bedroom if you want the rest of your place to be neat.

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