Everyone hates my new old table. That sounds like hyperbole but in fact it’s the opposite because in truth everyone despises it. And to make it worse, it’s not hate at first sight. At first sight, it’s a table. But after you sit or what approximates sitting at the table that everyone hates, the table table that’s too low to the ground, you start to feel the stirrings of antipathy that will fester and grow and breed and multiply.
Everyone hates its top and its legs and this is where I realize that there’s not too much more in terms of tables, descriptively speaking. Oh, its shape. It’s shape is unnecessarily rectangle. I live with my two kids. We need a square table. Or maybe a triangle table, which, by the way, are not as common as you’d think. But why is my wretched table a rectangle? I have no idea.
The table resurfaced from storage shortly after my divorce. Apparently they rejected it at Gitmo and so it came to my home to roost. I originally got the table when I first moved back to NYC after college in the late 1980s and didn’t know any better. You remember the late 80s, right? Well it’s as though Ronald Reagan showed up in your living room, muttering about ketchup being a vegetable. Just say no.
But it’s worse. Because my strongest association with the table was when decades ago I came home one day from my mind-numbingly dull job as a tax paralegal and I couldn’t find my dog Mavis. Mavis was a Basset Hound (until she died. And then she became Bassett Hound ashes, which is different from Angela’s Ashes, but I can’t kick the feeling that there’s an Angela Bassett’s ashes joke in there somewhere.) I looked everywhere for apartment. The apartment had been locked and Mavis didn’t have working thumbs so where could she have gone? It was a mystery and as I sat on the sofa to contemplate the probably alien abduction and the anal probing that Mavis was likely undergoing (interesting fact about Mavis: she had external anal glands which made her very, very stinky, especially during car rides and yet she received more invitations to the Hamptons than I did from neighbors who swore she was their dog’s best friend and they’d have a great time together. “I can come to keep an eye on her,” I turbo-hinted but for some reason not many people took me up on it.) And that’s when I looked at the table that now everyone hates, and saw that Mavis was standing on top of it, like some kind of a Basset Hound statue. I have no idea how she got there, why she got there or when she got there, but as soon as I saw her there, I became convinced that she was going to fall off and break all four of her legs and I’d have to either euthanize her or myself and neither of those options sounded inexpensive. So I went to the table, slowly, as though I would suddenly startle her into falling off and lifted her off, again, carefully, in case she was made out of porcelain, and lowered her to the floor. And then I wondered if this was going to be a daily routine that Mavis and I would undergo and whether this is how most 20-somethings spent their evenings in the greatest city in the world.
So when the table re-appeared in my life, I accepted it and moved on. I have bigger things to worry about, like how many Trump fundraisers I can squeeze in before the primary season is over. But then I noticed that my kids were sort of crowded around the table and then Mama said that the table wasn’t working, so we should get a new one. And I said, yes, sure, which is code for let’s do nothing and never speak of this again and has worked so well for me over the years. Except this time, a few short months later, Mama told me that she found a table to replace the table that everyone hates with one that everyone will love and admire and respect. Can I see a photo, I asked and there were some mutterings and then Papa emailed me a photograph of something that looked like a thimble of a table. Seriously, it appeared to be a table for cats, if they were kittens.
“It’s so small,” I said and Papa explained that it comes with inserts and when the inserts are in, the table is so big, it won’t even fit into my dining room area. Obviously, that’s an appealing characteristic for any table and I’m stunned that more furniture manufacturers don’t resort to this marketing technique. I’m sure it will catch on.
“I don’t think it’s for me,” I told my parents but they did not take the news well.
“It’s really expensive,” they explained in some kind of bizarre reverse-psychology sales pitch.
So for now I’m stuck with the table that everyone hates. But at least it fits into my dining room area, is not expensive and doesn’t have a Basset Hound on top of it. And some days that’s enough.
One year ago ...
- Experiment - 2013