Wednesday, June 12, 2013

It's a Matter of Perspective

I'm sure that's what TBG would have said, had anyone bothered to ask him.

Of course, he was just a little guy back then. Four years old, the apple of everyone's eye, curly blonde hair and big blue eyes and the sweetest disposition in the world.  His proudest possession was his brand new pocket knife.  His mom's proudest possession was her new dinette set, delivered that afternoon.  Those soft and gooshy seat cushions were full of wonderment for our knife wielding hero that day. Why were they so soft?  What was inside?  Carefully, precisely, with great deliberation and concentration, he carved his favorite number - 4 - into the center of each of the chairs.  After all, he couldn't assume that they were all the same, could he?

The new furniture was consigned to the basement that evening.  The felon lost his implement of destruction.  His mom remembered the feeling of loss fifteen years later, when I met her for the first time.  Some things resonate deeply for very different reasons.

I helped a friend make the thousands of decisions involved in building a house from the foundation, up.  I wasn't trusted with the prettifying details; I was the one who could be counted on to get excited over door hinges and switch plates and outlet covers.  Every choice was considered, evaluated, pondered, even obsessed over.  There was nothing random about their space; they waited until they found the right piece before any furniture was ordered.

When the dining room set was delivered, I was invited to be the first to see it... in the afternoon... after my friend got home from her little girl's play party.  Somehow, after leaving kindergarten just before lunch with a playmate, her big boy and his pal managed to swipe random streaks of vibrant oil paints on the front and back and seat cushion of one of the chairs.  The babysitter, interested in the sudden quiet, discovered the two boys intently decorating the new furniture.

My girlfriend was furious, appropriate use of painting materials was discussed with the miscreants, the sitter was encouraged to keep a closer eye upon her charges.... and then there was the chair.  Reupholstering one of them would mean a different dye lot, a slightly different color, a jarring element in an otherwise well planned environment.  It didn't take long before she got to work; her plain grey chairs were splashes of playful color after she and her paintbrushes were finished with them.

It made for a great story, especially since her son could be counted on to remind the listener that painting chairs was "really, really fun."

I was reminded of this by a cousin's Facebook post.
Ballpoint ink on a leather headrest...I'm not sure how to punish this crime...I want something that is fitting and hopefully make her think twice before destroying something again. Any thoughts? — feeling annoyed.
The first few comments were on ink removal; it's not a hopeful scenario, I'm afraid.  Graffiti removal and paying for the re-upholstery job have popped up, too. I wondered if they wanted to decorate the whole thing, a la those dining room chairs. It's all about perspective. I bet that pen felt great, sinking into the textured leather.  It's a snapshot in time, the doodles she is drawing this summer... and only this summer, it's who she is and how distracted she was and yes, the car looks like crap but, somehow, I can see the kid's point.

Then, again, they weren't my dinette chairs or dining room set or headrest. My guess is that my perspective would be just a little bit different if they were.

8 comments:

  1. Yikes. One more set of reasons that I did not want children and am increasingly grateful not to have had any!

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    1. A wise choice, indeed, for you :) Glad to provide more fuel for the fire.
      a/b

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  2. Reflecting on the headrest situation through friends, family, and my daughter’s perspective helps me to feel less and less annoyed. I even giggled about it last night. The doodles were happy and light hearted. The placement however was not well thought out but we can work on that. As for having a happy child, I cannot ask for nothing more!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And THIS is exactly why you are a great mother, Cuz :)
      a/b

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  3. I've given up on trying to keep everything clean. When you have kids, it's inevitable that someone is going to use a Sharpie on the back of a chair and make swirls. We laugh when we see it now. That chair sits in our sun room and faces out towards the deck.

    When we purchased our new sectional last year, we were asked do you want stain protection. Hell yes was the answer. It covers rips, stains--basically everything a kid can do to damage a sofa. Best $200 I've spent. I know I will be using it in the next five years.

    When I see the chair now, I just giggle. Wasn't so funny when it happened, but then again, my daughter was just two and making art mommy.

    Looks like the swirls are fading now. http://i41.tinypic.com/2j8tx2.jpg

    Happy Wednesday.


    Megan xxx

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  4. People are more important than things. In 100 years no one will care about the furniture, but they will care about how that person turned out. It makes a great family story to tell over and over, and chuckle about.

    Our daughter colored her sheets with markers and put stickers on every flat surface. Years later, when attempting to take the stickers off her door, the teenager asked, "why did you let me put stickers on my door?" "Let you? Hah. You just did what you wanted." At 35, she still does, but tries to instill different behavior in her two children. I laugh.

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    Replies
    1. "Let you????" I hope you had a good laugh... and are continuing to laugh as she tries to create non-destructive kids of her own. G'ma's email response to one of my plaintive cries of "why is she doing this" was simply " HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!)
      a/b

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