What I Suddenly Realized Was Missing From My life


The Thinking Chair

The Thinking Chair

I have a thinking chair. I got the name from the deliveryman who maneuvered my new chair into my office. “This is your thinking chair,” the deliveryman proclaimed, noticing its serene location facing a window view of our desert tree lit up in lemon-yellow blossoms.

I’ve never had a thinking chair. Or for that matter, a chair of my own. In the past, I’ve had to do my thinking in chairs other family members claimed as well. Community chairs, that’s what we had…dining room chairs, family room chairs, dusty patio chairs and uncomfortable wooden folding chairs.

Jerry restored an antique wooden spindle-back chair for Mother’s Day years ago. It’s too fragile for sitting. It’s certainly not for thinking. Jerry also gave me a wooden rocking chair with beautiful gold leaf design. He surprised me with it on the Christmas before the birth of our son. The rocking chair, I’ve always believed, belongs to our son. That is, when he wants to claim it. He spent many hours in it the first year of his life, I’m sure that will mean something to him someday.

Jerry restored this antique chair for me but it's too fragile for sitting.

Jerry restored this antique chair for me but it’s too fragile for sitting.

Jerry has a special place on the couch that he calls his “sittin’ spot.” But I’ve never had a special sittin’ spot to call mine. Mainly I didn’t have enough down time to stake out my own spot. Even if I did, I’d have to wrestle the cats for it.

Last summer I had lunch with a friend. She asked me during bites of our bagel sandwiches if I minded if she stopped at a furniture store after lunch. She wanted to inquire about recovering a chair. This stopover at a furniture store led me to browse, gaze, and price chairs. Suddenly I realized what had been missing from my life. My own chair!

At home I told Jerry about my furniture exploration and asked him to accompany me on a return visit. I pointed out the Queen Anne style armchair I thought would be perfect. Jerry scrunched his nose up, squinted his eyes, and appeared to be in excruciating pain as he said, “The fabric is hideous.”

“But I like it,” I said of the maroon fabric with huge playful yellow and blue flowers. Wanting Jerry to agree to my sudden need for my own chair and not wanting to ever witness his pained expression again, I asked the saleslady if I could have the chair in another fabric. She then suggested another similar-type chair, at less money, and in a fabric of my choice.

The saleslady escorted us to a rack full of fabrics to choose from. “How about this?” I asked Jerry. “Nooooo!” he said. Every fabric I chose, he vetoed.

“What do you like?” I asked. He picked out a quaint floral fabric in beige, blue and red. I thought it would work well, although not the wild and fun maroon fabric I preferred.

Weeks later, the furniture delivery truck pulled up in front of our house. Two burly deliverymen lugged my new chair, a high leg recliner, down the hallway and into my office.

I, at last, had my own chair. Of course, I didn’t need my own chair to think. I can assure you, I did some thinking prior to owning the new high leg recliner.

But thinking comes more freely in a comfy chair. Now I not only think, I ponder, muse, relax, sip tea, dream, and yell at the landscapers working in the yard next-door. Okay I don’t yell at the landscapers, but it does make thinking a little more difficult if a whining hedge trimmer is causing your head to vibrate. And I just added that for drama, anyway.

One of my favorite authors, Anne Lamott, writes: “I’ve heard it said that every day you need a half hour of quiet time for yourself, or your Self, unless you’re incredibly busy or stressed, in which case you need an hour. I promise you it is there. Fight tooth and nail to find time, to make it. It is our true wealth, this moment, this hour.”

And, Anne. I bet you have a very nice thinking chair for your half hour, or hour, of quiet time.

Jerry refinished this chair and gave it to me the Christmas before the birth of our son. It's for our son whenever he claims it.

Jerry refinished this chair and gave it to me the Christmas before the birth of our son. It’s for our son whenever he claims it.

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