Gay 'n Gray
|by John D. Siegfried|
|Domino Designing I suppose it's always been true, but I didn't realize until recently that I'm a domino designer. It's not that I take the little black rectangles with white spots indicating numbers and paint them lavender with pink spots. Nor do I fantasize about making the rectangular dominoes into triangles, or pentagons or other non-traditional shapes. What I mean, when I say that I'm a domino designer, is that when I redecorate a room it occurs by the domino effect rather than by a planned design.
A case in point is the recent revamp of our master bedroom. About eight months ago I decided after watching all the TV ads for tempurpedic and posterior-pedic mattresses that maybe a new mattress would alleviate my early morning back ache, a condition that's only been present for the past four or five decades. But, if I got a new mattress, I also wanted a new headboard. The old one was Motel Six with swirls of rattan and bamboo that I'd hated since the day it arrived eight years ago.
Macy's was a great resource for the mattressan extra firm Sealy made of the same material the astronauts sleep on as they hurtle through space. But I couldn't get just a headboard at Macy's; I had to get the whole bed. After several trips to the local Furniture Gallery, I finally selected a black wood Japanese style platform bed that neither matched nor enhanced any other article of furniture in our bedroom. But it looked really classya bed that would make the casual observer think that I was sophisticated and knew what I was doing.
For six months my partner and I enjoyed the new bed and mattress, but then the sideboard of the bed split one Saturday morning when Howard simply sat of the edge of the bed. I was really shocked. It seemed to me the only reason for a side board to split was if we were having mad, passionate, acrobatic sexthe bouncing off of the ceiling varietythe kind that would embarrass any self-respecting sideboard. That wasn't the case, damn it!
When I went back to Macy's the staff were most polite and most helpful. They assured me that they would certainly stand behind their product. The only problem was that the particular product I wanted was no longer made. There was no way to get a new sideboard; I'd have to get a new bed.
So I began the selection process all over and this time I chose a light colored wood platform bed with some built in storage capacity in the headboard. With the two bedside tables that were part of the package it was a massive piece of furniture. It took up one whole wall of our bedroom.
When the new bed was delivered a couple of weeks ago and the old one removed, it dominated the room and looked really great. But again, there was one little problem. The old headboard fit flat against the wall while the storage space in the new headboard added fourteen inches to the length of the bed. The fourteen inches of storage reduced the space between the footboard and the TV entertainment center opposite the bed to a ten inch path.
I considered placing a chamber pot, as in colonial days, next to my side of the bed rather than playing "Tiptoe through the Tulips" in the middle of the night to get to the bathroom. Ultimately, however, we got rid of the entertainment center (which in itself was fairly massive) and replaced it with a smaller Chinese red lacquered antique chest. And while we were at it we ditched the old TV and replaced it with a large flat screen set that sits impressively on top of the chest.
It all really looks great and we're pleased with the final appearance but, as a result of my heeding the TV ads for a new mattress, we now have an entirely new bedroomone piece at a time. That's what I call the domino effectlike when you stand a series of dominoes next to each other, each balanced on end, and then one domino falls against the next, and the next, and the next, and they all come tumbling down.
It probably would have been wiser, perhaps even cheaper, if I had contacted an interior decorator in the first place. I might have been embarrassed to say, "I'm buying a new mattress and I want you to design a room to go with it," but embarrassment isn't a new phenomenon for me. I'll spare you the details on my litany of embarrassing eventslike the time I addressed a room full of dignitaries in a prestigious Washington hotel (yes, the same one Elliott Spitzer favors) and, when I sat back down, I realized that my fly was open.
But had I gone the decorator route I'd not have had the pleasure of getting to know half of the sales staff at Macy's Furniture Gallery on a first name basis. Nor would I have had the fun of browsing through every store with Asian antiques in South Florida. But most of all I'd not be able to say, "I did it myself, mother."In this conversion from bamboo and rattan to a new dcor I was impressed that the sleek sophisticated new platform bed was actually made in China. The antique red lacquered chest was also made in China in the mid-eighteen hundreds. As one who's gay and gray, I grew up in an era when "made in China" meant cheap and inferior. Now "made in China" translates as qualityold and new. It sounds sort of Shakespearean. "The old order changeth yielding place to new." But maybe that was Confucious. After all it's now a Chinese bedroom!
John Siegfried, a former Rehoboth resident who now lives in Ft. Lauderdale, maintains strong ties to our community and can be reached at email@example.com.
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth, Vol. 18, No. 05 May 16, 2008