On the search for the perfect dining room table
Most days, this world is just not built to be navigated by a party of one.
There, I said it.
Naysayers will be quick to say “Nay, Jodi, you’re just being sensitive” or “Nay, Jodi, you have it easy!” And they may sometimes be correct in their nay-ing. But they may also be overlooking what it’s like to navigate as a party of one.
Setting aside all the delightful “never hike/run/walk down a street alone” advice, did you know that online travel/booking sites often default to 2 people?
When was the last time they had a hallmark holiday that didn’t revolve around couples or offspring? (Or Jesus, but that’s a post for another blog)
Most paperwork assumes that the signor has a spouse/partner who will be their emergency contact.
Household chores are meant to be shared…how I envy those who can ask someone else to take out the trash (whether they do or not is not my problem, thanks).
And don’t get me started on furniture boxes and their frightening graphics that threaten maiming or death if one person attempts to move/open it. Like everyone has some muscle hanging about the house waiting to help move a box from the foyer to the living room.
Which brings me to my new dining room table.
Since I moved into my new NoVa apartment, I’ve been slowly divesting myself of some of my old, dark-toned furniture. It wasn’t until I moved into this lovely tall ceilinged, beige-and-hardwood floor place that I realized how much dark-hued stuff I owned. This of course immediately became a metaphor for my life and the never-ending search for contentment and peace, and while I can’t say there are positive therapeutic associations to a linen-colored couch, I can say that I am enjoying the actual lightening of my daily color palette.
This dining room table has been a particular bane since I bought it in Boston back in 2014. For some reason, back then I was enamored of the metal and glass modern style from Room & Board, and I bought myself a rather large rectangular table that, from the moment it arrived, was too big and too cold for me and my tiny, “character-filled” 3rd floor walkup.
It quickly became nothing more than an expensive dumping ground for my stuff. When I moved to VA Beach, it was still too big, but it fit a bit better in the dining room off the kitchen, which I rarely used for anything other than, you guessed it, dumping stuff, plus the occasional Sunday dinner when my family would come visit.
I gave thought to selling it before moving north, but decided I would need a table on which to dump stuff before buying a new one. For a brief moment I thought it would fit in my new space, but alas.
So, for the past couple of months, I have been staring at that table, trying to figure out what to replace it with. I have spent literally hours on all the furniture websites I could find; I even visited an actual in person store once or twice (never again…you want a place that’s not for singles, go to a furniture store). I’ve driven myself a little bonkers with this search, and until recently, couldn’t figure out why.
Everything just seemed so expensive, so boring, and…wait for it…so big.
When I realized that last word, my hang-up became clear. I, a single gal, was trying to somehow fit a table meant for a family into my life. And as you’d expect, it really didn’t fit, either in my dining room or in my budget.
Because let’s get real…why does a girl who, at most, might have a large group of people over a few times a year…why does she need a table big enough for those people?
The answer is…she doesn’t. That’s what card tables stored in the closet (plus tablecloths) are for.
What she really needs is a cute little table that will be perfect for sipping tea and watching the birds out the window. One that can occasionally host a couple of friends or even – hope springs eternal – a romantic dinner for two.
Once again, I marvel at how deeply I’ve absorbed the “this is how life should be” nature of our American society. Of course I need a big table for big family dinners…doesn’t everyone?
No. The answer is no. Everyone doesn’t. Many of us don’t. And that is 100% ok.
In fact, it’s more than ok. It’s totally awesome. Because variety is the spice of life, people! And someone has to keep the smaller table manufacturers in business.
And you know what? After I freed myself from the family-dinner scenario, the world opened up. I learned there are a lot of smaller tables out there. Many of them are very cute, like mine.
A long while ago, I was able to get comfortable with going to a restaurant and having this conversation with the host:
Host: “Good evening, is it just you/just one tonight?”
Me, pointedly: “Yes, one please.” (Silently glaring daggers at the host for using the word “just).
Now, without even really knowing it was bugging me, I’ve set another of these society-induced bugaboos aside. It’s a moment of freedom I didn’t even know I needed. Huzzah! So, if you’re looking for me, I’ll just be over here sipping my tea and watching the birds…at my own lovely little table for one.