The Wishing Chair

Classic Eames lounger and ottoman – $xxx (haight ashbury)
Reply to:
Date: 2006-02-03, 10:09PM PST
I have a classic Eames lounger and ottoman for sale. Bought it from dwr for xxx. Will take xxx for it. Was a gift but can not afford to have such luxuries. cherry finish with black leather. in perfect condition. rarely used.
* This item has been posted by-owner.
* no — it’s NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests


The orange sofa was demoted to the kitchen when we moved to the new house. Although it was born in the seventies, the shade wasn’t that 1970s burnt-orange, exactly; it was more the marmalade tan of old Florida ladies. Its leathery skin had crackled, and it sagged. It was homely.

You could drape yourself across the top, and then roll-flop down onto the cushions, like a sea-lion cub. The back would support timid headstands, and while you lolled upside down you could pull fluff from its deep buttons. Or—and this was what I liked best—you could burrow into the left-hand corner, safely sandbagged by the wide leather arm that came up to a seven-year-old’s chest. That’s where I sat for hours with Enid Blyton for company. In spite of all the scoldings for reading in the dark, my shoulders are still rounded from those winter afternoons.

I read about The Enchanted Forest and The Wishing Chair. “Mollie and Peter have a thrilling secret. The chair in their playroom is a magic Wishing Chair. When they sit in it and wish, it grows wings and takes them on lots of exciting adventures.” When they finished their adventures, I’d start the books again, chewing strips of the pulpy paper as I went.

My grown-up sofas have not been squashy. I own two: both built for two, and neither built for lounging. Over the last year, it began to occur to me that I live alone, and that I might like to lounge once in a while. A chair arose in answer. It would have arm rests broad enough to balance notebooks and cups of tea; low enough to keep my typing elbows free; soft enough to pad my bony arms. There would be a place to drape my legs. When I sat down each evening, the chair would remember me like an old lover. From this chair, I could gaze out at Twin Peaks and the Golden Gate Bridge, or watch a whole season of Six Feet Under in a single weekend. It would grow wings and fly me to the woods to talk to pixies when things got rough.

I tried out friends’ favorite chairs: La-Z-Boys and Saarinen wombs; Jennifer Leather and IKEA. Either they looked good or they felt good. Then Keith let me sit in his vintage Eames lounger. He claimed it was the best chair for nursing, though he lacked the boobs to be convincing. Still, the old baseball mitt was a comforting cradle, and it was the first seat in years that made me want to reach for an Enid Blyton. (In chairs, as in music, my tastes are those of a middle-aged man.) I dug out Charles and Ray Eames’s exasperated letter to Henry Ford, and remembered how likeable they were.

I started to type their name into Craigslist every few days; another idle surfing tic. There was a lot of junk. Like “web 2.0,” “eames” is now a code for raising cash. Every swindler with a particle-board bookcase adds “eames herman miller midcentury” just to bump the search results. After eight months I found Truong’s ad for an Eames lounger, several days after he’d posted it. I guessed it was gone, but a few days later I got a terse reply. The first guy had flaked. He would show the chair to the next three people at 10am on Wednesday, and the first one with cash could take it. I explained that I had the cash, but had to be at work at 10. After several exchanges, he relented, and let me come early.

I thought about his post as I biked up Haight Street, lungs bursting: his frank (stern?) admission “can not afford to have such luxuries;” the chair for sprawling that was “rarely used.” Why did I think a chair was worth a month’s rent? Did I think I could sprawl more than “rarely?” I pictured a tough-minded Vietnamese accountant who would barely hide his distaste for my American self-indulgence.


But of all things, Truong was a poet. His bay-windowed apartment was stuffed with furniture that would have looked good in the modernist Reunification Palace in Saigon. He sold pieces from time to time to raise cash for poem-writing. He showed me his books. “Are you a dealer?” he asked, and was pleased when he learned the chair was for me. I wanted to ask him about Vietnam but instead we talked about poetry. Poets always seem surprised to meet punters who read poetry–most don’t themselves, as far as I can make out.

A few weeks later, my friend Kevin helped me pick up the chair his truck, on a night when I was so frazzled that I left my bag at the office and he had to pay my taxi-driver off. He carried my chair up the stairs and then left us alone. I sat down and swung my legs up, and the cool leather unfrazzled me. I burrowed in and read Truong’s poems.

A chair should feel like home. A chair should have some history. This one does. Now I’m waiting for it to get its wings.

yes the stories are at times overwhelming but would i stop listening the answer is no for without the stories there would be no history and without the history there would be no people where then would i be if not for the acronym the oddity the visitor the native
—Truong Tran