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Bookmark: A change in chair proves challenging

December 22, 2011|By Julia Keller, The Chicago Tribune

It was time.

The chair had begun to sag in multiple places, its stamina and flexibility fatally compromised by the repeated sittings and risings, and sittings and risings, of its most frequent (and, as the French so delicately put it, "well-seated") occupant: me.

Coffee stains had steadily multiplied along the dark-green fabric of its padded arms, the inevitable result of hasty slurps and preoccupied sips and sideways gulps imbibed during the feverish reading of especially riveting passages.

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Moreover, there were, pressed deep in the aging chair's crevices like keepsake flowers stored in the pages of a favorite old book, spilled peanuts and dropped popcorn and the occasional flake of waxy chocolate from a Little Debbie Swiss Cake Roll.

Last week, it became clear to me that — after 12 years of faithful service rendered from its spot in one humble corner of my home — its number was up. And so, in the midst of holiday shopping to find gifts for others, I did a little shopping for myself as well.

I needed a new reading chair, and I needed it now.

Because once the decision was made to put the old chair out of its misery, I wanted to act swiftly. No looking back. No dithering. No second thoughts. No lingering regrets.

I was the Lone Ranger in search of a new Silver. Harry Potter in pursuit of a new broom. Don Quixote, forced to replace Rocinante.

And it was much more difficult than I had anticipated. I visited furniture stores, office supply stores, discount stores, department stores. I tried out the chairs of friends, striking various poses — holding a heavy hardback with two hands, perching an iPad on an upraised knee — to see if any of their chairs might be The One. I thumbed through catalogs. Perused websites.

But each time I seriously contemplated a replacement — another upholstered armchair that would be my silent companion through myriad midnights of reading — I hesitated.

I just couldn't do it.

At this point, the psychologically well-adjusted among you are surely muttering, "It's a chair, Keller. Get over it."

Would that I could.

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