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Thursday, November 15, 2012


It all started when *Ted moved out last summer. Ted was living with my guy friends, whose house we always, somehow, ended up hanging out at. When Ted initially moved in in May, he brought with him a nice microwave, a table, and a set of chairs. During the course of the year, those poor chairs and that pitiful table received all the abuses that accompany college living. Ted left after he graduated in May, assuring the guys that they could keep his table and chairs until he needed them again in October.

Well, you can guess what happened. Ted came over one sunny October afternoon and loaded up his table and chairs, leaving our established hangout bereft of any place to eat a meal with civility. For a few weeks, our hangouts sunk down to floor level, as we would spend the nights together sitting in Indian style, laughing about how irrititating it was to be without a table. Finally, the guys went on a mission to come back with a table and chairs. They were only partially successful. For three more weeks, a giant, chairless table engulfed their dining room. Gathering bills, car keys, and remnents of the nights before, the chairless table continued to tease us.

That is, until my last day at my internship, when I was helping them transition from office to office. There, in this nearly empty office, sat eight office chairs. When I discovered they were going to have the chairs picked up by Good Will, I immediately jumped on the opportunity before me. To be fair, I spend most of my free time at this house- the absence of chairs was starting to get on my nerves, too. I called one of the guys and proferred the 8 free office chairs if he agreed to drive to Denver to help me unload them. Four hours later, we all convened at the table, taking advantage of the rotating axis of the office chairs by making overexaggerated arcs with our feet, adjusting the height, and leaning back comfortably.

Yes, the chairs look bizarre. But they serve their purpose well- as evidenced by our most recent Thanksgiving feast/board-meeting. Last Sunday, in an extended tradition of "family dinner," each of us prepared a typical Thanksgiving dish. After four years of living on our own, I was impressed at how our cooking skills had developed! Strewn out on the counter lay a boat of mashed potatoes, gravy boiling on the stove, a honey-cured ham, green bean brocolli casserole, cheesy potatoes, bacon wrapped green beans, fried asparagus, roles and cranberry sauce. My friend *John even baked his own pumpkin pie, which looked perfect- like it had been ripped from a Martha Stewart magazine. We loaded our plates high, poured a glass of wine (note to my readers- we're all 22 or 23!) and took our places in the office chairs.

There was no sacrament, there were no "tell me what you're thankful for" speeches. Instead, we toasted to great friends, good food, and the possibility that this faux-Thanksgiving might even top the Thanksgivings we enjoy with our families on the real day. We poured Eli, the house cat, a glass of warm milk (can't leave Eli out!) and dove into our plates. We laughed until we cried. All while twirling around in those stupid office chairs.

It was the quintessential moment of college, wrapped up in the glory of great friends, delicious food, and shared memories. Sure, none of our place settings matched. Sure, we didn't have any napkins and resorted to paper towels. And, sure, at the itch of every perfect housewife, we did it all while sitting in office chairs. But, when else in my life will this style of family dinner happen again? Probably never. Therefore, I'm so glad I have that spot of time to keep with me always. I'll never look at an office chair the same way again.

*Names have been changed

International Affairs, Anthropology • Colorado Springs, Colorado

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