"What are you afraid of?"

I squinted at this question on an application. God, I hate this sort of thing, this "Let's get to know the real you" faux-chumminess. Either I'm qualified for something or I'm not.

I'm probably not.

The real me isn't going to change that.
And yet, here we are and here that question is and I frowned. Most of what scares me is, well, most of what's around me and I'm not sure how that makes me seem relatable. Reflexively I glanced around the room, as I always do when searching for writing inspiration and-
"Hello," I said, but softly, so as to not annoy it. I turned back to the keyboard and typed, "I am frightened of our new dining-room chairs; this is a very reasonable thing to fear."

When it comes to design, Consort is fussy and I am indifferent.
"Which paint color do you prefer?" he says, before slapping down 16 identical samples.

Apparently, they are not identical. I point randomly at one, he tells me I'm mistaken, he picks the one he always planned to get, I shrug because - and I can't say this enough - I don't care.
We rarely fight about interior design.
The dining-room chairs defied this heretofore-successful interpersonal dialectic. Consort was as fussy as ever but suddenly, I cared. I had Thoughts and Opinions, none of which were in any way in alignment with Consort's T and O.

Went on for years.
"Years?"

Yep. We ate all meals in the breakfast room.

"What did you do if you had people over for dinner?"

That doesn't sound like a thing.

This past summer, Consort looked at me and said, "We are going to pick dining-room chairs."
"...or die in the attempt" was implicit.
Newly invigorated by vaccines, we masked up and wandered through stores. So many stores.

So many chairs.

So much sitting and discerning.

I felt the siren's pull of indifference again and tried for, "I don't care" but Consort fixed me with a masked basilisk gaze.
"We're looking for chairs," he said, "Until we agree on a chair."

We found them at the next store.

Let's say that was a coincidence.

Honestly though, they're attractive. Fabric seat color works in the room, chairs look appropriate with Norma Talmadge's dining-room table.
(Another time)
The chairs are clean-lined with the slender legs of an Italian greyhound or a Slovenian teenager new to the catwalk runway.

As with both a greyhound and a ectomorphic teenager, I failed to appreciate the potential threat those legs posed.
Every morning for the past two decades, I have slunk out of bed and been herded to the laundry room by whatever pets currently own us to feed them. I am a morning person; this doesn't trouble me. I do, however, expend only the bare minimum of energy on inessentials.
One of the things my brain has filed as "It has always been thus and will always be thus" is the width of the dining-room table I cut around as I am herded.

Chairs change circumference.

Within weeks of chair-guardianship, a long slender leg had broken my toe.
I will admit that it happened without having the slightest idea how it occurred. I was walking what felt like nowhere near a chair leg, cats were complaining and in a second all the silvery-heat in the world was emanating from what Consort calls "Quinn's fuck-you toe."
"So, you broke your toe; aren't you the person who admits you're about 26% more clumsy than the average person?"

I am and I appreciate you remembering that. Here's the thing; I'd have accepted a broken toe as the cost of adulthood but...the chairs keep coming for me.
I walk into the dining room, carefully push all the chairs further inward, with not a single pipestem limb to be seen. Perhaps I stand there a second, smile fondly at the lack of potential harm, head into the kitchen. A minute later, I walk back through and-
"GOD DAMN IT" I shout in utter confusion as I remove the leg from my foot, my shin, my ear. Long before I knew what animism was, I was an animist and some inanimate objects, well, we're going to agree to disagree about the "Inanimate" part.

I suspect I owe these chairs money.
Right now, my morbidity report is as follows:

1. 1 broken toe,
2. 1 stubbed toe,
3. 4 weird shin bruises,
4. A pervasive sense of furniture-related dread.

And Consort?

"Oh, I get it; I nearly tripped on one of the chairs once," he said.

He does not get it.
I finished typing this into my answer, read it back and smiled at me thinking anyone ever hires someone after reading that. In the silence after I clicked send, I heard something from the other room, the smallest of sounds.
One might even say a slender leg, shifting outward.
Absently, nervously, I petted the arm of the office chair.

"Don't you listen to those new kids," I said to the office chair, but tucked my feet up under myself, just to be on the safe side.
And now, THE AD! If you like these Small Stories, can I coax you into helping to support them? I promise to remind you that not all furniture likes you.

patreon.com/user?u=4846197
And now, the other ad!

I have a deal for you on
@librofm (libro.fm/redeem/Quinn)

My membership benefits
@vromans! Yours could benefit your local indie bookstore! Here is a list of wonderful #AAPI authors because chairs write very few books!

libro.fm/playlists/2129…

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More from @quinncy

16 Nov
A small story:

A few weeks back I doled out Modest Blessings on here to those Californians who voted against the recall.

"How could you know for certain, Quinn?"

For one, I like to tell myself people who follow me and people who think Larry Elder can govern have no overlap.
For another, while I did have to take it on faith they didn't vote to make everything worse, it became apparent fairly quickly that my subconscious was tapping into something and that something was, and I'm quoting feedback here, "Witchy-accurate."
By the second day of doling out blessings, I was getting comments like, "The light on my dashboard DID, in fact, turn out to be a cheap fix!" or "When I went for a walk today a small friendly cat DID walk and chat with me!"

Lie to that kind of power at your own peril.
Read 17 tweets
8 Nov
A small story:

Consort is sentimental and nostalgic.

I am not.

In fact, if pressed, I would describe myself as "Whatever the furthest point is from nostalgia." I actually hate reminiscing. Until yesterday, I knew this without being able to explain why.
And then, I took a shower.
I have taken showers before.

Several, in fact.

And sometimes when I'm standing there, trying to atone to my body for the Sculpt class I have just taken, I realize something very profound, something obvious, something that it took conditioning my hair for me to see.
Read 12 tweets
6 Nov
@DoodleWrangler Did I ever tell you about the time I quietly avenged your father by ruining a drunk's night?
We knew a couple where Consort was longtime friends with the husband and I usually got stuck with the wife. She was and, I suspect, still is a therapist.

She was also nearly certainly an alcoholic.

Maybe she wasn't.
Maybe it's perfectly normal to not be able to stop after a single drink, maybe all the most abstemious drinkers turn into an utter jackass after downing a bottle pretty much on their own.

Maybe "weekday breakfast wine" is a thing.

Anyway, she was my responsibility.
Read 10 tweets
6 Nov
A small story:

After over a quarter century together, Consort and I know how to argue. In fact, I’m going to say we aren’t bad at it, abiding by the intimate partner version of Marquess of Queensbury rules which is to say, we sue Oscar Wilde.
(We do not sue Oscar Wilde)
We fight reasonably fairly, we rarely drag in any grudge over 120 days old - unless, of course, it shows a pattern of behavior or I feel like it- we even own the irrational stuff by beginning, “This isn’t rational but also, still mad.”
Read 14 tweets
4 Nov
OH MY CARBGODDESS. @VillageBakeryLA Image
Unofficial small story and a request:

Recently, 6 @LAPDHQ officers came in; one wasn’t wearing his mask correctly. One of the young women working asked him politely to fix it. They left, gave them a bad Yelp review.
Aren’t you guys busy doing an actual job?

LOL.

Of course you are not.

Also, Nick T? Women shudder at your touch. Image
Read 6 tweets
29 Oct
America has a weird habit of going to war with nouns and adjectives. The problem with this is that it's hard enough to figure out an exit strategy when the war is with another country over an island; how does a country declare a win on a war on drugs?

Cancer?

Terror?
(You don't)
What put this in my mind was tugging on my mask to enter a store this morning. As I have a few times before, I wondered when the mandatory masks will end in California. I mean sure, they've ended in Florida but apparently DeSantis is a necrophiliac.

We're now in a war on COVID.
Read 4 tweets

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