June has come and gone and I guess I graduated a little over one year ago. For six of those months, I lived in the lime green basement of a house that I shared with three other girls- plus Darryl, who lived in a backyard trailer just south of my door. My old room used to be the place where Lisa the landlady tested refrigerators back when she lived there with her ex. I moved out, and although my new place doesn’t have as many electrical outlets, there aren’t any bugs. Instead of Darryl, I have a door man. I met a player for the US National Cricket team in the elevator the other day and I swear the guy in Unit 306 is a boy-genius pianist. There is no other explanation for why classical music plays all day, and he’s still in braces. The clear kind.
It took me the better part of a month to buy a couch. I didn’t know what I wanted. I couldn’t justify a new couch in my budget. And a lot goes into buying furniture. It’s a very tangible commitment that I’ll be in one place long enough to sit down more than once. I had to consider logistics- things like, would it fit in the room? Did I like the style? And suddenly I had to go from flea markets and Craigslist to having to have an educated opinion on couches. I had no idea what made a couch a good one except that it wasn’t so pricey I’d be forced to eat ramen on that very fancy couch until I paid off my credit. And what if I picked the wrong one?
So instead of furniture, I bought a floor sample shag rug to temporarily fill the space. I threw pillows everywhere, and ate dinners on old patio furniture from my parents’ house.
Bouncing from room to room, and back to my parents’ house, I figured I should be thinking about the future and spending my time trying to make sense of who I was, and what I wanted to do. Decisions about things more than two weeks out were paralyzing.
But enough with the shag rug. Last weekend I visited a furniture outlet. There were hundreds of couches. More couches than you would ever want to lounge on. I surveyed the room and everything sort of looked the same. Overwhelming doesn’t begin to cover it. But there was only one way to get through the room, so I sat on a few sofas and was glad that I inquired into a lamp I’d been eyeing. It would have been a real bummer to plug it in and realize the bulbs were multi-colored. I wandered around the store for almost two hours, looking at the same couches over and over again. It was hard. I went with my gut. It was the best that I could do.
I paid for a new cream couch with my own credit card and picked it up a couple days later. I set the new couch in my living space. I knew I’d probably move it around, try it against one wall, move the TV, switch side tables and re-arrange pillows. But none of that matters because regardless of any re-arranging, I bought a couch.
I don’t know where I’ll be next year. I don’t know how long I’ll be at this job. I don’t know what I’ll be doing next or who I’ll be seeing or what difference – if any – I’ll be making. But to get wherever I’m going, I’ve got to start somewhere. And it may as well be sitting on couches.