A couch’s value lies in the stories its stains tell

standard February 23, 2010 3 responses

I enjoy flipping through the Pottery Barn catalog – the neat rooms, the coordinated decor, the classy grown-up looking homes. They have everything, couches that don’t bear the signs of a cat, two babies, and countless dinners eaten in front of the tv, counters that aren’t covered in three months worth of mail, a printer, toys, art, and god knows what else, rugs that still bear some resemblance to what they looked like the day they were first created, and even cute little knickknacks, without any nicks or nacks.

I turn the pages and think of a day when I too will have rooms that look like that in a nice white house with a picket fence and a lovingly tended yard where I’ll plant perennials or whatever it is people plant in their yards.

Then I look up and I see my house with all it’s clutter and well loved furniture. I picture our overgrown yard, where only flowering weeds dot the growth with spots of color. And I know that we’ll never have that home and that yard. Not because of money, even if we were millionaires and lived in a mansion, it would still look much like our small home looks today.It’s who we are. It’s how we live.

When faced with the question “people or things,” M and I pick people, hands down, every time. And when we’re faced with the question “things or experiences,” again things lose. Which is why we’d rather celebrate events with outings than gifts and why we’d rather play with the girls, cook fun things, go for a walk, or just enjoy each other rather than cleaning the house.

I can’t fathom that I’ll ever get to a place in my life where I’d give my belongings more importance than the people in my life. Things are just things, you can’t take them with you. People? Memories? Emotions? Those are the things that give life its value. All the Pottery Barn catalogs in the world couldn’t make me change my mind. A couch isn’t worth anything until you can point to each stain and tell the story that comes with it.

This post was written in response to the {W}rite-of-Passage prompt:
“The core, ethical concepts in which you most passionately believe are the language in which you are writing.” pg 103 Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott.
What is is that you believe in your core? Values, morals, etc. Write in a way that is fair and balanced but real and honest.


See below for links to other bloggers’ responses to this prompt.

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3 responses

  • I live in my house. I’m glad you do too. To look at a catalog and think, I’d love to have that room is really no different than looking at a model and saying, “I wish my body looked like hers.” Unattainable, but in truth that’s a good thing.”

  • It’s true. I can’t even keep my slip cover tidy. It’s the hiding place of choice for hide and seek, and having been our dining room table when we lived in our 345 sq. ft apartment, our Crate and Barrel couch is long past it’s day of showroom quality.
    But I agree, I would rather have kids who feel comfortable in their house than have rooms they’re not allowed to go in. (Then again, I can’t imagine having enough rooms where that would be a possibility 😉

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