When I was packing up my home office to move, it became obvious that the massive chair that faced my computer and monitors would not fit in the allotted space in The New Place. The chair, throne-like, was almost 40 inches wide, black and brooding. It was a presence and it was simply too big, so along with several boxes full of things I would no longer need, I took it to Unique, a warehouse of second-hand stuff, and dropped it off. This was not a snap decision. The chair had been an important part of my life for years. I spent four to eight hours in it daily, and it helped me write hundreds of thousands of words—blogs, books, plays, short stories, magazine, and newspaper articles. There was a certain melancholy to giving it up.
A few days later, I spotted the chair in a grassy patch next to a bus stop a block from the Unique store. Or at least I thought I spotted it—same chrome frame, black leatherette with a tear in one of the arms, same familiar rounded headrest. It was rush hour and I was stopped at a red light. The chair sat in isolated and regal splendor until a tall and heavy woman with shopping bags plopped into it. The light changed. I drove away.
Over the next couple of weeks, the chair remained next to the bus stop. The changing weather didn’t affect it. Once, I drove by and saw two children playing in it. Another time, it was on its side. The next day it had been restored to uprightedness. Still, I couldn’t be sure it was mine, and I remained mystified by how a piece of furniture from Staples had ended up serving the local community.
Today, I stopped to investigate. Yes, it is my chair. The tear on one arm that I meant to repair is larger, more pronounced. The chair is chained to a lamp-post, which I had not noticed before, and the weather has not marred it; it remains regal. It has been joined by a much smaller, white kitchen chair, and my tendency to anthropomorphize objects kicked it. Would there soon be a family of chairs at the bus stop? Perhaps a table will join the group, or a floor lamp? I am tempted to find an accompanying piece of furniture at Unique, some object I could add to the ensemble to make it more homey, but in the end, I’m going to leave well enough alone.
I hope the county does not decide the chair is an unauthorized furnishing. I hope it provides a bit of comfort to the weary. For me, the chair offered one last breath of inspiration.