It’s only a furniture store in a nearby town. You’d think we’d asked the satnav to take us to The Magic Faraway Tree.
Take a….right and then take a ….left and then … make a u-turn….and then…. god…. I don’t know….over there? What do you want from me?…I’m just a machine…
Paul, the furniture salesman doesn’t seem to believe he’s really there, either. He keeps rubbing his face, vigorously, particularly the eyes.
‘And this is the snuggle chair,’ he says, gesturing to a cute little sofa like it’s a family member, taking the perspex sign away and reciting a litany of features.
‘Don’t you get embarrassed saying snuggle chair?’ says Kath.
‘No,’ he says. ‘You get used to it.’
Paul talks us through the options. Sets us up with a ledger of swatches, and we spend the next twenty years trying to imagine whether mint tartan will clash with tangerine orange, or whether a pattern of leaves and flowers will be too overwhelming.
‘Earth tones,’ says Paul, tapping an abstract leaf pattern. ‘You can’t go wrong with earth tones.’
Another more elderly couple is wandering round the store. The man says: ‘I’m actually feeling quite low in energy now. Perhaps we should come back later.’
I imagine his wife driving him home and hooking him up to the mains. Or maybe they’ve got an attachment in the car.
‘You can always mix it up with some cushions,’ says Paul, pressing his palms hard into his eyes.
I don’t blame him. I couldn’t work in a place like this. I’m pretty sleepy at the best of times, but this – this is all too padded, too comfortable. I’d spend the entire shift asleep on that ottoman. Next to that giant glass strawberry. There must be a factory somewhere making giant glass strawberries. That might be alright.
‘Okay?’ says Paul. ‘Great. If you’d just like to come over to the desk and we’ll sort it all out for you…’
Kath is very good and tries to angle a better price, but as Paul points out, they’ve already discounted the sofa by twenty-five per cent, and head office have said enough’s enough. But he does say he’ll get the old sofa collected free of charge, as a favour, and we’re happy with that.
Mind you, we’ve had our old sofa so long maybe we should give it more of a send-off. Maybe we should pile it up with DVDs, TVs, books, guitars, clothes, bottles of wine, photos of people, and dogs, and scripts of conversations, and arguments, and laughter and – well, you get the picture. Or maybe I should just fall asleep on it as it’s being carried out of the door to the van, and they could tip me off into the flower bed at the last minute.
We don’t have to decide just yet, though. There’s a two-month wait on delivery.