Sunday, January 13, 2008

Off my Rocker

I was reading Not So Big Life and it referenced a photo book Material World: A Global Family Portrait in which Peter Menzel and 16 other photographers traveled to 30 countries to photodocument the houses and belonging of statistically average families. I haven't see this book, but I can imagine what an American household's material wealth looks like spread for all to see over a cul-de-sac.

In light of this culture of materialism, one of the exercises of the book is to take a look at something that the reader (that would be me) has her heart set on acquiring. I guess it is supposed to make you think long and hard about your longings. Perhaps it is even designed to make you decide, "I really don't need that." But the exercise just fueled my desire for the latest object of my heart's desire--a rocking chair. Not just any rocking chair. A reproduction Eames molded rocking chair that my husband says is butt ugly and will not enter our home. (I'll give you one guess as to whether his abhorrence has cooled or increased my ardor for this rockin' piece of art on runners.)

So one question that NSBL asks is: What is it about this thing that seduces you so?

Last year we bought new living room furniture. We really needed two chairs to finish off the seating arrangement, making the room more conducive to socializing and conversation. I always liked this rocker, but didn't want two of them. (They are kitchy and two would be overkill.) Now with the way we rearranged the living room, it would only take one more chair to complete the look. I love the curves of the Eames Rocker. It was designed around the same time (late 1940's) and has the same feel as our Heywood Wakefield Dining room set and our Eva Zeisel serving pieces, all of which are visible from the living room. Plus I really like the fact that the Eames pieces were designed by a husband/wife team. I like the playfulness of the piece and the movement of the rocker. Rockers always remind me of motherhood, but this is an off-kitler kind of rocker, and my kids would agree that I am an off-kilter kind of mother.

This may be a moot point. We have other needs. The empty spot in our living room is a low priority. It is my extravagant wish of the moment. And I do believe that sometimes you acquire things in mysterious ways. So I will visualize owning my rocker. I just need to decide which color to visualize, the blue or the orange. Either would be smashing with the new pillows I am making for the couch. As far as Mark's declaration? I think that Ray and Charles Eames would agree that even great marriages require a little compromise. He lets me imagine a rocker, and I'll let him imagine I don't have issues against us owning an X-box 360.

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