Thursday, March 29, 2012

Death of a Desire for a Salesman

For all my lamenting about the good ol' days when people had conversations and made eye contact and engaged with each other, there are very specific days and times when I feel a qualified relief that I do not have to interact with certain types. Such a day and time was this afternoon earlier today at a local furniture store.

I have been wanting to get rid of my makeshift "dining room" table for awhile now for the following reasons.
  • It is not a real table but rather one of those outdoor foldaway tables that I've borrowed from my parents and dressed up with a tablecloth in order to make it seem acceptable.
  • I never use it for its purpose (eating atop) because without companionship, the table has me sitting facing a wall.
  • I am a piler of things atop flat surfaces. A cursory entrance to my apartment tells everyone that. I have a habit of piling things on top of clean, flat surfaces. These things can include but are not limited to books, cds, dvds, my earrings, my watch, old receipts, bills, handwritten notes from the town's mayor, New York Magazines, unlit get the idea. I don't want to give the impression that I'm dirty. I'm not. I'm messy. And I don't like clean, empty surfaces. My home does not feel lived in if there is not a veritable Jenga formation on each table. So consequently, this dining room table has been less a table on which to eat, apart from maybe like six times in 2 and half years, and more just another receptacle for all my "stuff".
  • I don't throw dinner parties. I don't throw parties, period. I really want to be the type of person that throws parties because, though I'm quiet at first, I truly enjoy being surrounded by people. But if I'm going to be truthful, I don't throw parties. I don't know enough people out here and I'm also not the greatest cook or organizer and I tend to be lazy when it comes to events. So I have no need whatsoever for a dining room table at this juncture in my life in this particular apartment.
  • I don't have a dining room. It is a corner of the main, big room in the front of my apartment. Getting rid of the table would give me room to do other things like just spin around in circles and not hit anything, if it be to my liking.
  • I desperately want a writing desk. I want one of those old school "secretaries" replete with all the nooks and crannies for cramming items and stashing secret things like treasure maps and love letters to beardy boys. Something a person named Agatha would have in her study. She'd want me to have one too.

There is magic inside every nook and cranny.

So the point of me writing about all of that crap is that I went into my local furniture store to scope out their goods. I should note that I started off being cheap. Convinced I would find my magical secretary at the Salvation Army, I headed there first. The only thing there was sadness. And maybe bedbugs. I resolved to buy a new desk if I could find one. So on my way back home I stopped at the store, expecting to walk around aimlessly until I found a clearly labelled section called "Secretary desks under $100". This did not happen. Apparently since the last time I bought a piece of furniture, which wasn't even that long ago, the furniture sales game has gotten cutthroat. The saleswoman was on me faster than I could really get my bearings inside the store.

I don't really know if my professional attire silently communicated something to her but once I said I was looking for a desk, she showed me the biggest items of furniture in the store. I'm talking about enormous, gilded, rococo sculptures of desks that would fit right in at Versailles.I expected to be led into the hall of mirrors at any moment.

Is this kind of what you had in mind when you said "I'm looking for a desk?"

 After we calmed down a bit and I told her exactly what I wanted, she showed me a lovely secretary priced at $700. I eloquently said, "Um, no." She then showed me a catalog filled with more reasonable items, all the while breathing down my neck like it was closing time and we'd been flirting all night. Her tactic, I surmise, was to make me so uncomfortable that I'd just buy something so she'd go away to the ladies' room and high-five herself in the mirror. This is a tactic that may have worked on me in the past, I can't lie. But I've since grown a bit more cautious with my spending. I only ever charge alcohol once every two months now, por ejemplo.

Anyway, I longed to rewind back to the moment before I entered the store, before I made eye contact with this woman. We arrived at an awkward silence when it felt like I needed to make the decision; a  decision that felt like it would end all decisions: which desk would I choose? And how much of a deposit would I leave? Instead, the phone rang and she left to answer it. I used the minutes to formulate a response that would get me off the hook politely. (I can't be rude to salespeople. I picture the phrase "mouths to feed" everytime someone tries to sell me something. Yes, I'm kinda stupid.) I told her an old favorite, "I have to go home and measure the space." She nodded knowingly, saving her eye roll for after I left, I presume. I wanted one of the desks she showed me in the catalog but I'm dreading going back in there. What to do?

Anyway, I suppose the point (if my blog has any point, I wish someone would tell me) would be that I am sometimes super grateful that the world is turning automated, that we can do almost everything in life without having to speak to another person and that soon I will not have to deal with salespeople ever again because the world will be populated by cyborgs.

The end.

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