Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Sebald Sentences

Transportation, 2016

W. G. Sebald is one of my favorite authors. I might have mentioned this before. I'm currently reading Vertigo for the first time. As always, reading just a page or two of Sebald's writing transports me into a trancelike state, sometimes all it takes is a sentence or two. I folded the top left corner of page 84 earlier this morning so I could return to it and share the sentences below with you.

"After barely an hour of breezy travel, with the windows open upon the radiant landscape, the Porta Nuova came into view and as I beheld the city lying in the semicircle of the distant mountains, I found myself incapable of alighting. Strangely transfixed, I remained seated, and when the train had left Verona and the guard came down the corridor once more I asked him for a supplementary ticket to Desenzano, where I knew that on Sunday the 21st of September, 1913, Dr K., filled with the singular happiness of knowing that no one suspected where he was at that moment, but otherwise profoundly disconsolate, had lain alone in the grass on the lakeside and gazed out at the waves in the reeds."
Sebald died young, at 57 years old, only 11 years after this book was published. His books have been described as difficult to characterize, and I wholeheartedly agree. What I think I respond to most in his work is the way it both carries me to faraway places and reminds me to be present and live fully. A thoroughly satisfying, albeit slightly disorienting, combination.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

The Sofa Would Probably Be Reincarnated

Indigo, 2016

We've needed to replace our sofa for quite some time now, but have put it off. Our comfortable sofa, loaded with memories, is sadly waiting on the sidewalk in front of our apartment for the Bulky Item Recycling pickup I scheduled. Our new sofa arrives tomorrow. It's a beautiful indigo and I don't even care.

I bought the sad sidewalk sofa when I lived on my own in Chicago. I didn't have any furniture at all, so I didn't waste much time making a decision. I needed a place to sit. So I simply walked into the showroom, and without much thought selected a model and fabric, and that was that. No perusing Pinterest or Apartment Therapy or design blogs of any sort, because they didn't exist back then, and if there was anything of the sort it wouldn't have mattered because I didn't know about it.

My new sofa was delivered to my empty apartment, not long after my visit to the showroom. It was gorgeous and new and I loved it. I hadn't even met my husband yet. A few other gentleman might have sat on the sofa before I met him, but we won't get into that.

When I moved into my first apartment in San Francisco, which ended up being our (my husband when he was my boyfriend and me) first apartment in San Francisco, the sofa moved with me. The apartment was supposed to be my apartment, but the rental market was brutal and someone saw a window to worm his way into my life. I didn't argue.

Then the sofa moved with us to our second SF apartment, where we got married, on the roof deck, with a view of the Golden Gate Bridge. A very special day.

And it moved with us again, to the tiny apartment we moved into so I could afford to go to graduate school. We're still here! I know it seems crazy, but maybe it isn't. We like it here, usually. Another story for another day.

Then the sofa rode with us in a U-Haul truck and lived with us in Point Reyes Station, CA, when we thought we were transitioning our lives to West Marin. The transition was never completed. Again, we'll save those details for another day.

The sofa was brought back to our little apartment in the city and it has served us well, through all of these changes in our lives, until we moved it out to the sidewalk early this morning. I feel I've betrayed it in some way, like there's something more I should have done.

I'm clearly not handling this sofa departure well at all. I know different people have different definitions of what constitutes needing a sofa, but you can trust me when I tell you the fabric was not just bordering on embarrassing, and the cushions, although fluffed regularly, had really lost their oomph. And the style... It was a bit dated, maybe more than a bit, but honestly, I could have lived with dated. It was the wear and tear that solidified the poor guy had absolutely reached retirement age. Yes, my sofa is male. I don't know how I know.

The pickup schedule was full tomorrow, so we decided to just go one day without a sofa. We were asked to have it outside at 6am this morning, so we woke up early and maneuvered that giant out the front door, as we'd agreed we would.

I took a ferry to Sausalito and Sausalito really was at its best today. It felt good to be there. The fog and the mist were beautiful and the library was quiet. But then I remembered the sofa and started feeling nostalgic... I tried to distract myself with the purchase of a huge ripe tomato. No, I haven't tasted it yet. My fingers are crossed. It will be our first ripe tomato of the season. Usually very exciting, but the sofa... I assumed it would be picked up before I returned home.

I got home today around 2pm and it was still there, on the sidewalk. Now it is 5:30pm and nothing has changed. I've called the service twice. I fear it will be out there all night.

Every time I walk past the sofa or look outside I feel terrible. I imagine it's cold and lonely out there without our bodies to keep it warm. I wish we could have donated it, but my research showed it was not in the proper condition for donation.

The last time we scheduled a pickup for a piece of furniture we had it out of the apartment at 6am and it was picked up by 7am. Done. And I didn't even care about that item.

My husband offered that the sofa would probably be reincarnated and this idea made me feel much better. I'm thinking it will be a goat or a saguaro cactus in its next life. Just a gut feeling.

Wait... I hear a truck.

Nope. Wrong truck.