the things we didn’t know we needed

by bam

while the rest of me is not so, i would have to say my eyes are rather loose. yes, i mean it that way. quick to fall in love. fall hard. not let go.
hmm. i suppose the psychiatrist would say obsessed. but not in any dangerous way, so don’t be worried.
what happens to me might happen to you, might be the thing that drives the world’s economy. or the western world’s. certainly the half that is amazingly astonishingly acquisitive.
what happens is something like this: there i am flipping along the pages of some obscure publication, say the thos. moser cabinetmakers catalog that comes a couple times a year. i am minding my own business, turning pages of chairs and tables i might never afford. and then a little something calls out to me, catches my loose eye. i am struck. and stuck.
i think that thing, say the cobalt-blue glass chandelier dangling up above, is the loveliest thing i’ve ever seen. i immediately transport it in my mind, see it hanging right there above the table where we partake of all our not-so-ordinary meals.
i decide, especially when i see it’s not for sale, it is a thing i have to have. i weigh the one i have and the one i’ve no idea how to find, and, hands down, i am yearning for the one that’s hard-to-get. (note the pattern here, i think to self, between the objet of my deep desire in the housewares dept., and the unrequited loves that gobbled up so many gosh-darn years in my distant past.)
i do believe it’s the chase that thrills me, but also some romantic notion of all the many meals forever dappled in that cobalt light.
the chandelier that hangs there now has never been a one that stirs me. if it’s brass, and it might be, it’s a tinge too greenish-brownish, too blkhh, for my own taste. it’s one of the leftovers that comes with buying an old house. it might be the one the doctor’s wife, half a century ago, thought was vogue. (and she might be the same one who liked the godawful orange-brown tile that steamrolled straight across the kitchen floor and halfway up the walls.)
i never knew cobalt glass could be bent and blown to hold up lights. oh goodness, i am enchanted.
and i have friends, it turns out, far wilier than me. which is how i got to here, completely hooked and deep in pursuit of deep blue light. light i’m now convinced i need.
turns out my friend elizabeth is a tried-and-true accomplice. she tracks down trinkets for her day job. so when i showed her the page above, she set to work. i didn’t even ask. she called moser, talked her way to someone in the know, asked where the dangly thing was from, then called the little shop in somewhere maine. it was an antique shop, and the chandelier was sold. dang. and what a price. a price you would not believe. not nearly what a chair from moser costs. which means i might afford that cobalt light.
if only i can track it down. and believe you me, i will try.
i once drove halfway through the night to a man i’d never met, because he had a bench with birdhouse arms and back. for all i knew, he could have been the boston strangler. ah, but we are blind in hot pursuit.
i’ve spent days tracking just the schoolhouse clock i’d set my sights upon. would not let go, like some mad bulldog.
what intrigues me here is how we fill our homes with points of fancy, points of light, that speak to us as if possessed. we are driven towards beauty, towards comfort. we are nesting, all the time. it is as if we can’t pull the blanket tight enough. we are ever searching for the perfect feather to soften, to lighten, to tweak a mood.
it might be some old chair you discovered in a garbage dump, or a birdhouse fallen in the scrub. or it might be cobalt glass you sniff out across the country.
we are, all of us, simply hauling home a whole collection of things that speak to us, not unlike filling pockets with gold and scarlet leaves when walking through an autumn woods.
for those of us prone to daydreams, for those of us with deep domestic roots, it is not about living in a movie-ready set. it is something wholly deeper. it is real, for starters. we build cottages in the woods, or turrets on a mountain, because we are living out a story. each day, a page. a book we simply can’t put down.
we are stepping into something once-upon-a-time. but it’s not make-believe. it is true, and it is this: we live aswirl in light and color. patterns, textures stoke our rich imagination.
we feel a tingling down our spine, just by curling in a red-checked chair. we exhale when we finally make it through the door, lay our weary head on antique lace we discovered in a musty drawer.
the world is brutal, cold and mean. the homes we make are the patchwork quilt, the potbelly stove, the gentle ticking heart that keeps us safe inside.
which sometimes means we are destined for a wild goose chase.

have you trekked mountains, or continents in hot pursuit of some fine thing, some thing you determined you had to have, for cockamamie reasons? do you have adventures of which to tell, the sort that had you chasing after certain chairs, or plates, or rug, or colors for your wall? do tell. it’s a fine day for feeling cozy at the table….