The Chair Project

by Nic Olson

Long before summer hit us with its tube-top good times, but after the snow had melted and evaporated, I found this chair. I had put in a morning volunteering at Carmichael Outreach, came out the back door to see a beat up white chair upside-down in the trash barrel, ready to be taken to the city dump to be buried with shitty diapers and half-eaten pizza pops. The bottom right rung was snapped off. The chair was unloved. Instead of letting it be disrespected, I strapped it onto the handlebars of my bicycle and rode home. On the way I picked up a garbage bag filled with recyclables to fully adopt the poverty stereotype, and rode home talking to myself and chuckling.

After six layers of paint that I stripped with some environmentally-friendly goop and a few paint scrapers I couldn’t figure out why a person would paint such a chair in the first place, and why they decided they needed to do it five more times, from blue to yellow to white to powder blue to seafoam green to white again. The pressed-back was strangled by the paint. Painting things; walls, furniture, teeth, cars, faces, has never computed with me. A temporary, always artificial facade that hides only the truth of natural aesthetic. Truth is better than beauty. Like I’ve said since I was an obnoxious pre-teen: dyeing your hair is living a lie. Painting your chair is as good as murder. Make-up on a girl’s face is often great, but always unnecessary. But alas, I am simply a peasant with no taste.

Regardless, my chair now sits in my basement prison as just one more thing that isn’t anywhere near as comfortable as a beanbag, just one more apparatus to hang clothes off of. I only hang clothes off of antique furniture, restored by the hands of a skilled craftsman. The project is finished, the chair is functional and I have learned nothing but the fact that seeing through to the end of a project is an infinitely difficult task for me. Must be a lack of character.

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