Miscellaneous Mum - Trying to find the objective correlative, everyday
As I’ve previously written, we’ve just bought new couches. This purchase was over a decade in the works and so it might be understandable that I’ve been pondering a certain feeling that we might now be ‘proper’ adults.
This feeling lasts for about three minutes, until I spy our beanbags in the corner, their dejected flabbiness. I remember when they sat stuffed full of Styrofoam, their tips poking up in the air like proud gnome hats, at a slight rakish angle. They were fun, signifying the cheap and acceptable styling options students and people on a budget could understand. Worse, even – they belong to the kids. Were we really considering getting rid of these (admittedly stained and dubious smelling) artefacts of their youth?
Were we going to cast off Spiderman or the bright pink love heart mountain that served at various times as furniture, climbing challenge and bottom-eating monster one had to occasionally struggle out of, particularly after a busy night on the Playstation or an accidental nap?
When put that way – the answer was no. And so we haven’t gotten rid of them. Not yet.
A beanbag rarely just appears in your life. It’s not like other hand-me-downs one might be given when establishing a household. In my experience, the purchase involved an early paycheck and the need to do something at least semi-responsible with it. Also included is a trip to the shopping centre (or online) where one is met with a plethora of colours and designs to satisfy all tastes. You deliberate for ages, wanting something you won’t get teased for, that looks opposite to that Kermit the Frog green velour monstrosity that sits in your friend’s garage.
Almost always, there is the shock of discovery that the expense isn’t so much found in the sack, rather the bags of beans required to fill it. And isn’t that a fun drive home, by the way. As is the discovery of those tricky zippers you need an unfolded paper clip to get open and a belt of whisky to feel up to the task.
After reflection, I’ve come to understand that the beanbag is a kind of paradox: they are light and transportable and yet have been entrenched in our culture long enough to have a deeply embedded gravitas. Sure, you could toss it away. But look at that stain! That’s spilled red wine thanks to an excitable 5am game of Trivial Pursuit after a night out and you fought over the legitimacy of your ex-flatmate’s answer. There’s a chocolate smear from a movie binge (or you hope it’s chocolate – cats have come and gone over the years). And that stain? Um, never mind. You know where it’s from. It all adds up to personal history.
Those Italians knew what they were doing when they first came up with the idea in the late sixties. It’s like beanbags are a ledger of our best and worst times, with the added benefit of being designed to fit our shape comfortably. Unless, of course, you’re the sort who disagrees and wouldn’t ever have one, perhaps for the same reason why some people don’t like taking baths: you feel like you’re sitting in your own dirt, surrounded by it. To which I retort, siphon out the beans and throw it in the wash. Extend its life. Have the heart of a hippie for a while longer.
It’s what we’re going to do.
Image credit: marsi
Karen Andrews is the creator of Miscellaneous Mum. This is one of the most established and well-respected parenting blogs in the country and is a two-time finalist in the Best Australian Blogs competition. She is also an author, award-winning writer, poet, editor and publisher at Miscellaneous Press. Is an exercise junkie (when she finds the time).
I must admit, I’ve gone 32 years without owning a bean bag. That said, I don’t own any ‘grown-up’ furniture yet either. All hand-me-downs. I dream of the day I have something flash and impressive in my living room. Even one eye-catching chair as a conversation piece…
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