Saturday, November 7, 2009

Ceremonial Chair

I'm big on metaphors. Some might consider it an affliction. Maybe it's the lapsed writer/poet in me. Maybe it's because I consider words to be playthings. Sometimes it's definitely to make a point when people are so tied up in the context of a thing that they need to see it in an entirely different language. (I have a whole slide deck on chocolate chip cookies, pecans, and network switches...)

In the moment, I don't always know why I do what I do. Other times, I know the symbolism exactly. I live the metaphor.

The day I went to the courthouse to file the original dee-vorce papers, I next went to a park where I could look out over a big open field to the hills. I wanted to see uncluttered distance, undeveloped space leading into trees. It had to be organic, growing, uncontrolled.

After another courthouse visit, I found myself in a shoe store. Mind you, I consider shoe stores as entertaining as dental offices. But I was taking more steps. You can't do that in old shoes. Sometimes new steps pinch a bit. You have to break them in. Get used to them and get them used to you. Sometimes you get them home and they're just not right -- the key is to not revert to the comfy Ugg boots.

Yesterday I had a meeting to finish the title transfer of my house to remove x's name. I wrote the big fat buyout check awhile ago. (Actually, the bank wrote it -- hence the lack of vomit on the document itself.) It's a hunk of paperwork that didn't get done right on the first try. Now, with signatures on Monday, it's done.

On my way home, I bought a chair. A big brown comfy leather chair. A chair of the type I've been wanting for several years. And when x moved out, he bought himself a big brown comfy leather chair. There's a little-known commandment -- thou shalt not covet thy x's chair. I've broken that commandment consistently.

I have this big deal about want vs. need. I don't splurge or indulge on much. I shop at Nordstrom Rack and if it ain't on sale, it ain't coming home with me. If I get a bonus at work, I put it toward bills or extra on my car or mortgage.

But I bought the chair. It's another element of the transformation of my house into my home. It's a sturdy place to sit. It's comfortable. And I got it myself -- including the dog-leash rigging to keep the box in the not-so-giant back of the car and muscling the awkward box into the house.

I got the chair because I wanted it. Because I acknowledged that it's OK to have something I want. If we never explore what we want in life, how do we know who we are? When to turn left or right? When to pause? And if we never allow ourselves the things we want, we become static and stoic.

Having what you need means you're fed, clothed, and surviving.

Most things I want aren't material objects. I can't buy them. But I do need to reach out or take action to get them. And sometimes it takes a chair to remind me.

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