I had a fruitful day at Ye Olde Thrift Shoppe. I may have found The Find of The Year, in fact. It takes a lot of practice visualizing to actualize what you’re visualizing, as anyone who does a lot of thrift store shopping knows, and today’s find took me the better part of a year visualizing to actualize it. No small feat.
I don’t always visualize. A lot of times I just open up my heart chakra and let the universe fill my basket, and then later at home we sort it all out together over beers, the universe and I. Sometimes, for a laugh, the universe throws a lot of crap in there. I have to admit, I don’t always get the Universe. And other times I do, but I don’t find the Universe that funny. But what can I do? I mean, it’s the Universe. You have to laugh.
There are times when there’s something in particular I want, though, and that’s when I start thinking about it, visualizing it, and eventually it manifests. I’ve been visualizing Mario Lopez face-down on my futon a lot lately, but that hasn’t manifested yet. (I know it’s wrong to have a massive, insane, uncontrollable crush on a Saved By The Bell alum, but I can’t help myself.)
Anyway, in the case of my lawn chair here, the hours a day for months on end of intensive visualization finally paid off.
The backstory: A couple of years ago when I expanded into the garden plot next to mine at the Fenway I inherited a classic aluminum tube web chair…
It has become beloved to me, as some objects do. My moleskine day planner. My Berol Verithin No. 741 indigo blue pencils and my Faber-Castell PITT black pens. Certain coffee cups. Certain specific T-shirts, corduroys, skivvies.
But as with all love objects, the years have taken their toll. After three seasons with no refuge from the elements, my aluminum folding chair had grown threadbare. The day was fast approaching when I, or some poor innocent visiting my garden to shoot up or turn a trick, would sit down in it, and find himself summarily gobbled up by it.
By last spring the situation was already pretty grave. I went out looking for another web chair — it’s such a simple, unpretentious piece of lawn furniture I couldn’t imagine you couldn’t find it somewhere — in some no-frills hardware store, or even a Star Market in a working class neighborhood. But everywhere I went, I found needlessly fancified updates. Fancy inflatable camping chairs in rain-proof totes. Ergonomic hemp hammocky things with cup-holders and built-in TV trays. And when I went online, although I found what I was looking for on ebay, they were calling it “vintage,” which seems to justify asking outrageous prices.
But no other kind of lawn chair would work for me. First and foremost, I knew no one would steal such an unassuming piece of lawnware from my plot in the public garden. Nowadays, in these parts, people don’t bother stealing it if it doesn’t have a fancy cup-holder and built-in TV tray.
Besides, this was the chair I’d grown up with. The one parents brought to little league games when I was a kid. It was the Fourth of July at Gustafson park. It was the kiddie pool on the concrete slab that served as our back yard back in Speedway, Indiana …It was as perfect as Pong. As perfect as Rumours. Or Five Easy Pieces. Or Good Times. As perfect as the dash of a 1973 Plymouth Valiant. It was J.C. Penney, and Schoolhouse Rock, and TaB.
The design could not have been simpler, and has never been improved on. The aluminum tube web chair is as profound in its simplicity, as impressive in design, and as formidable an engineering feat as the aqueduct, the windmill, the push reel mower, and the sandwich. When anthropologists three thousand years from now find one of these, they’ll know we were not just a race of barbarous apes.
Now, all this may seem OTT for a simple lawn chair. But despite what some people say, it’s not wrong to love things, if you love them in the right way and to the right degree. That can be difficult, but then that’s the nature of love, which makes no sense without an object, but which sometimes makes even less sense when it’s fixed on one.
I find nothing wrong with praising simple, elegant solutions to practical problems. The aluminum folding lawn chair is just such a solution to the practical problem of where to sit in a society always on the go while sitting on its ass.
Now all I need is another one, so that when Mario Lopez finally materializes I can take him to the garden with me. Do you think if I visualize hard enough I can manifest one more web chair by June? Or maybe even a deluxe web chaise lounge?