I’m in my living room, looking at my sofa and I’m not happy. The sofa is beat — torn up and god knows what else from the animals. In addition, since I took up the last wall of the living room with another bookcase, it’s slung kitty-corner in the room, making a goal-line stand in front of one bookcase containing philosophy and history and another containing fiction and my jazz album collection.
‘This won’t work,’ I think to myself. Then I pause and add, ‘Wait a minute, what do I need a sofa for, anyway?’
What indeed? The sofa’s main purpose is to bring people together, which is great for newlyweds and teenage groping. I have no problem with that, but give it a few years and wring out the lovey-dovey and the sofa transforms itself into a sleeper — how many of us come home ready to spend a quite evening in front of the TV in the family room only to find a gangly 17 year old splayed across the sofa like a rorshach test, leaving you to sit in the corner on a wobbly cane chair you trash-picked five years ago? (How many of us rush home to be the first to splay themselves out on the sofa?)
And, when you have folks over, each end of the sofa is staked out first, leaving the third person to sit in the middle, arms vee’d down between their legs looking like they got seat 31E for a twenty-three hour trip home on Air Kazakhstan.
But then….not having a sofa is unAmerican. No, actually, it’s unhuman. Everyone has a sofa, right? How did we get this way? My guess is that the sofa is the product of evolution. In the beginning was the log astride the fire, then the benches that would flank each side of a dining table to be pulled out for sitting and chatting by the front room fireplace. Next people added a back to the bench and curved arms. Then the padded seat and after that the padded back and arms and legs. Then reclining sofas and sectionals. Like an adaptable species, sofas learned how to survive.
But I’m thinking, Darwin be damned, the sofa is outta here! What’s wrong with a few well-placed arm chairs? They’re comfortable, they can be moved around and grouped any which way you please, they don’t hog the room like a sofa does. It’s perfect!
What pieces of useless furniture do you have cluttering up your mind, your view of the world? Every so often, take an inventory of your perceptions, impressions, stereotypes and categories that you use to view the world. Take a hard look at each one and see if it adds to your sense of self and your community, or it detracts from either. If it adds value, dust it off and put it back — if not, throw it the dumpster. Just because you always thought one way in the past doesn’t mean you have to think that way in the future. Take a chance and lighten your load.
In the meantime, wanna buy a sofa?