If last week saw us hugging and weeping over the sofa, declaring it to be a family member, the New Year weekend had us determined to politely, but firmly, get rid of it. We still love it and all that jazz, and shall be really sad to let it go, but there is only so much deep-suction behavior that one should allow any seating receptacle to get away with. But before we could respectfully dispose it off, there was a much bigger challenge, one which we have been battling for several years now – that of selecting a new sofa to buy.
To appreciate the magnitude of the task, you need to understand SG and his shopping habits. I know some people who have buyer’s remorse; they will pay for those expensive shoes and start with the whimpers and regrets even before the salesperson has boxed it up. I am friends with some who dress only in monochrome as they get overwhelmed with the colors, noise, people, and pink candy-floss that your average mall is. Then there are those who shall agonize over the tiniest decision, spending hours dithering and hopping from one foot to the other, till the unfortunate service personnel and shopping partner is ready to pull a chainsaw massacre just to escape the moans. I am fairly certain that you too can boast of similar acquaintances. I, though, have the singular distinction of being married to someone who is a charming bundle of every one of the above eccentricities. If they gave out prizes for being the most painfully terrible shopper ever, SG will be a shoo-in for the Nobel.
Allow me to illustrate. Remember, my teeny weeny fridge having the storage capacity of a goldfish’s brain, bought when I was single? A few years into our marriage, we started living with SG’s parents and the demands on our fridge grew manifold. No longer could it be the final resting place for horrendous Chinese take-away. Overnight, it had to hold food supplies and leftovers for a family of four. My all suffering fridge rewarded us with abysmal groans in the dead of the night, and developed severe multiple personality disorder, taking to being sunny tropical and Tundra frigid by turns. It was a no-brainer that we had to get a new one. Every weekend, SG would take the measuring tape out and dutifully note down the dimensions of the space we had to accommodate the new fridge. We would make a trip to the mall and make best friends with the sales person. We would measure each refrigerator in stock, poke our heads into freezers, inquire after after-sales service, debate the merits of the various brands on sale, check whether they would be willing to take our current temperamental possession off our hands (even it meant paying extra), discuss energy saving ratings and haggle for discounts. Just before the credit card could come out, SG would advise that we sleep over it. And so we would, only to wake up the next weekend and thoughtfully start all over again with the measuring tape. I swear, honest to God, that each time he repeated the exercise, the man managed to look pleasantly surprised at the unchanging space dimensions. Every, frickin’, single, time.
A long story short, we never did get a new fridge. Our neighbors moved away and insisted that we have theirs. And what do you know, it was a magical fit.
Returning to the subject and turning the spotlight onto the other half of the couple. While I am no shopaholic, I have been known to stroll around a mall, contently window shopping, more so if I have a large Krispy Kreme product for company. I am lightning fast when it comes to making shopping decisions and am perfectly capable of spending large sums of money in the blink of an eye, without, you know, blinking an eye. So why did I not just buy the darn couch all these years, I hear you ask. You see, I have a theory that when people live together long enough, they start becoming similar. By very small, barely noticeable, infinitesimal incremental degrees, couples manage to cajole, nag, talk, and convince each other into changing. And that is the sole reason why many who celebrate their diamond jubilees not only finish each other’s sentences, but also remarkably look alike. It can be scary, this wearing away of the identity – especially, as in my case, if it starts leading to dithering and moaning behavior at the shops and not being able to buy sofas and refrigerators.
We first started looking at getting a sofa when we relocated, nearly six years ago, after the movers molested all our furniture. We wandered from departmental store to mall, regally placing our rears on various couches. We got in a lot of practice for what would be our behavior for (not) buying a fridge, (not) replacing our television, and other sundry non-events. Our list of specifications became longer with every passing year. Imagine a passive aggressive family tip toeing around the gargantuan sofa buying decision. SG was fine with whatever I chose, as long as it had clean lines, offered firm seat support, and had smooth anti-toe-stubbing features. His dad left the decision to us, but would prefer something light – in terms of color, weight and impression on the wallet. My ma-in-law was good with anything, though it would be nice if it were to have straight back but still be quite, you know, comfortable. Divorces are known to occur over interior design decisions. The only reason we are still together as a family is that our sofa preferences were not in conflict, each addressing a unique aspect of the hallowed furniture.
The years relentlessly moved on and we were completely happy to keep looking till we had found the perfect one. Every few months, the sofa decision would rear its head like a particularly stubborn weed and off we would go to the shops. We became experts at speed dating furniture. As time passed, I reconciled myself to a lifetime of having a sagging butt-rest, and it became a fun charade to tsk-tsk over potential couches and sofa sets. Just for variety, we looked at day-beds and even benches and sofas-which-became-bed; it was all such a merry lark. With the advent of on-line shopping, we delightfully took our little expedition on-line. Instead of befriending sales people in person, I started having virtual relationships with unknown customer service people, confiding in them our sofa woes and sharing our hopes and dreams with them.
So things would have continued ad-infinitum. Then the weekend before last, while running some errands, we decided to stop at a store to play our favorite sofa game. While I was discreetly checking the very expensive organic food on display, there seemed to be a sudden shimmer in the air and somebody (or something) called out our names. We were pulled, magnetically, to the other end of the shop, where there sat in regal splendor the very thing which met every single (okay, okay, most) of our requirements. Bewildered, I saw SG make up his mind in a split second and before you know it (a couple of weeks later, after we had slept over it and consulted half a dozen people and he had measured the old sofa just to be sure), he made a very large dent in our bank balance and sealed the deal.
We are yet to get the delivery. Buyer’s remorse expected to kick in any time.
PS. If you promise not to tell him, I have a confession. I had spotted the very same sofa (or near replica) at a different outlet of the same brand, a full five years ago. Of course, it has always been the one. We just needed SG to arrive at the conclusion on his own.