My Sad Couches

I curse my couch. I curse all four of my couches. They say so much about me. Too much. And I am not pleased about what they say. Why can’t I have really nice couch, in my lifetime?

I am feeling that my deeply held desire for a comfortable good looking couch is heading into an obsession. I have debts to pay and money to save, but I can’t stop thinking about a really comfortable couch. I can’t take it much longer. Can I have a really nice couch before I turn sixty? Can I make that happen?

We have never had a truly comfortable couch. We had a series of futon couches in our young days that were given away when we moved, which was every 4 or 5 years until we landed in the east coast and bought our first home. And then we had kids, who are very much like cats in their ability to destroy a couch. So it didn’t ever seem like a good time to buy a really nice couch.

We did, in all fairness, have one fairly nice couch. The infamous gold couch. Bought it at a warehouse sale. It was really very comfortable and good looking, at first. Spills and cat accidents happened, but it was very comfortable with two pull out feet rests! Falling asleep with your feet out on the rest was a real thing.

But then one day a screw fell out. I think I must have innocently vacuumed up the screw with only a small question in my mind. Where did that screw come from, originally? And why was it under the couch? Big mistake.

Soon the middle of the couch began to lower to the ground. My husband insisted that it was completely comfortable, once you had sunk as low as it was going to go. But one day when I could see nothing but the top of his head and his moustache, I knew we had let it go too far. Somehow I got it dragged to the roadside (it was famously heavy and dug holes into the wood floor) and it disappeared in about half an hour for someone’s camp, where all the ‘big garbage’ furniture goes out here on the east cost.

I would like a couch that felt like a hug. I know they exist because I have visited other people’s homes. And in my fantasy, this couch would be wine red and possibly velvet. Yes, velvet. I would accept dark blue as an option. Or dark green. I must sink into it. I must have the feeling that I am so comfortable that I can barely move.

The recent used couch we bought for 100 bucks fell apart within one week. Something gave underneath, a piece of wood, a screw fell loose, something. And then it began the inevitable slouch. If you sit in the middle. or slightly to the left of the middle, you will sink to the floor. Other than that, it’s OK. It’s dark blue, a worn out corduroy, I think. It isn’t horrible.

It was quite the scene when we picked it up from our local town. The apartment it came from was so tiny that it completely dominated the room it was in. While struggling to get the couch down the narrow stairs a free roaming dog made his way into the woman’s apartment and ran all over leaving muddy footsteps everywhere. And when the couch finally ended up in our living room, I sent a picture to the seller to show her how happy it was. I was hopeful, but that was before it started to devolve.

Now a truly terrible couch is the futon couch that sits at a right angle to the blue couch. It has recently found its way down to the living room from upstairs where it was an uncomfortable guest bed. It can still be transformed into a bed, if you have the the will and the strength. As a bed it is fine if you are young but if you’re old, the layer of foam won’t help and you must lie on a diagonal to avoid the presence of the slats rising up through the mattress. This couch will stay in the living room until I break it up into tiny bits and burn it in the woodstove.

I try to avoid siting on that couch. The only comfortable position is to lie flat on your back. If you try to sit and watch TV your back will bend into a potato chip position, and then when you slowly sink to the side to relieve the discomfort, you will hear a series of small cracks and pops that herald an upcoming trip to the chiropractor.

Those are the pretty good couches. We also have a couch that I impulsively bought from a small rural museum. It has red velvet upholstery, which sounds promising. But it is quite old and dusty (antique, shall we say). Is it my dream couch? Not at all. It is both simultaneously extremely flat and hard and lumpy. The carved wood frame of the back of the couch is gouging a hole in the wall of my office.

And then there is the truly terrible couch, red and scratchy. This one has been stuffed in a room upstairs, in front of a second T.V. It was my mom’s once upon a time and somehow it got handed to me. I remember how proud she was of the re-upholstery job she had done on it. But I see now that it was a not a very good job. The rough pebbled wine-coloured upholstery has been put on too tightly resulting in cushions that slide out from under you until you find yourself clinging to the frame as the couch gently expels you onto the floor.

My absolute weakness as a shopper is that I am always hoping that somehow the object will just appear, with lovely serendipity. I will pass by a store or a road and there the object will be, waiting for me. Or a friend will say, I need a home for this perfect old couch.

But after almost forty years of crappy couches, I know that I must take an active interest in couches if I really want to pursue this dream. I may have to make the acquisition of the couch an actual goal. Buy it and have it delivered? What a strange idea. And with cost of gas and groceries these days? Nah. I’ll just sit less.

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