Monday, July 05, 2004

Patio furniture

Okay, I have this thing about bad patio furniture- I can’t tolerate it! I don’t even want to look at it or think about it. Is this so unnatural a fear? Is it wrong to have such strong feelings about bad taste? And how can I judge what's in bad taste and what's not. I can't explain it and I don't know why I found the idea of bad patio furniture so repulsive. I understand that it’s very functional, and if you have a patio it only makes sense that you should have something to sit on or eat on while enjoying your patio. However, when I walk by patio furniture in the garden and leisure section at the Fred G. Meyer superstore and I usually notice it… the ugly nut brown and army green colored waffle textured vinyl covered cushions with the matching sun umbrella doomed to jam or break after sitting in the rain. Sometimes I notice the etched glastic table tops and the seats with rubber strips woven like a pie crust that leave criss-cross marks on your ass in the summertime. I can’t stand any of it!!!! And the people who look at it in the store… who sit in it and fondle the cushions… I can’t stand them either. Are they settling for half-way mediocre garden furniture? And Wicker? Don’t even get me started. Do they really like the design or the style? Have they even considered that within a few months the color of the plastic upholstery will fade and they will end up tossing it thoughtlessly into the dump with other countless patio furniture paraphernalia?

But I’ve finally decided why patio furniture disturbs me so. It is a symbol and reminder of all that is wrong, stylistically with the middle class. For myself, being a typical daughter of middle class parents, it is a reminder of all the things that I don’t want to become as a grown up. Though one should always hold a measure of caution when making such statements as: “That will never be me,” or “I’ll never become like my parents when I grow up.”
Let’s face it: I am middle class and I should own up to it. Why do I detest the idea of belonging to this group so much? Maybe it's because marketers will always aim straight at the middle. Maybe it's because it's too easy to buy what's readily offered to us, or to consume things that are just there out on display in the convenient center aisleway. But on the otherhand, Target seems to offer an assortment of pieces that go with my sense of style whether it's the robin egg blue mid century modern salad bowl or the school room clock for the kitchen. So I guess, I've come to the conclusion that I should make an effort in determining what I consider stylish, maybe even seek out choices that are beyond the beaten consumer path; while not totally discounting what's available, common-sense and convenient.

I’m a style nazi and I should just admit it. Though, I will admit I'm no Martha Stewart.  I've come to believe that one's own personal style shouldn't necessarily be judged by others. I guess whatever someone else wants to put on their patio is simply their own business. End of story.


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