Sunday, February 27, 2011

A vision of the superior sofa

The sofa was perfect for sleeping, Not too soft, not too hard; even the cushions pillowed my head just right. Doing different tabulation jobs, I've slept on a lot of sofas, and let me tell you, the comfortable ones are few and far between. Typically, they're cheap deadweight. Even the most luxurious-looking sofas are a disappointment when you actually try to sleep on them. I never understand how people can be lax about choosing sofas.

I always say — a prejudice on my part, I'm sure — you can tell a lot about a person's character from his choice of sofa. Sofas constitute a realm inviolate unto themselves. This, however, is something that only those who have grown up sitting on good sofas will appreciate. It's like growing up reading good books of listening to good music. One good sofa breeds another good sofa; one bad sofa breeds another bad sofa. That's how it goes.

There are people who drive luxury cars, but have only second- or third-rate sofas in their homes. I put little trust in such people. An expensive automobile may well be worth its price, but it's only an expensive automobile. If you have the money, you can buy it, anyone can buy it. Procuring a good sofa, on the other hand, requires style and experience and philosophy. It takes money, yes, but you also need a vision of the superior sofa. That sofa among sofas.

— from Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, by Haruki Murakami.

The sofa Murakami's character stretches out on is leather and, I believe, white — a tasteful decorator shade of white. Not exactly my style.

The Sofa must've been one of our first major purchases as a couple some dozen years ago, and it was complicated. It took a lot of time, discussion, and compromise before we settled on the Kalahari model (no, that's not it pictured here), which struck a reasonable balance, within our budget, between style and comfort — comfort coming out slightly ahead.

These days it's formidably cat-scratched and discoloured, so now covered, but still comfortable, if a little too large for our living space, and a little too small to accommodate toute la famille at once. I love it and I hate it and it will someday in the not-too-distant future be replaced. But I will always recall the Kalahari with fondness.


Stefanie said...

There is something to be said for a good sofa. The one my husband and I bought after we got married was selected for it's reading comfort. It was an excellent sofa.

kissacloud said...

That's a gorgeous sofa in the picture! Really, if I could find one like that around here I'd buy it! We need to get a new one this spring.

Sam said...

Reminds me of Horst Wackerbarst. In 1979 he drove around the US with a red couch and photographed various people (some famous, some not), sitting on his red couch, as a portrait of contemporary America.