July 5th, 2021

hindenburg

Reset Twenty-One, Day Nine

The most interesting event Sunday brought was the rather comical near-catastrophe of a failing chair. When I first moved in to this apartment my sister gave me a folding canvas camp chair to use in the back yard. It was a few years old, but remained serviceable for a few months. About the time it began falling apart, Kmart had a sale on the same kind of chair and I picked up two more. Then I decided they were a bit small and uncomfortable, and when I saw larger, more substantial models of the same sort of chair at CVS, and I had a coupon for 40% off any item, I bought one of those, and a couple of months later, with another coupon, a second one. I figured I was set for the rest of my life. But no.

It turns out that camp chairs only last years if you use them only at camp for a couple of weeks a year. When you use them daily, as I did, they last about six to eight months. One by one the chairs fell apart, and for the last few weeks I've been down to the last one. It had developed a bit of a rip in the seat, and I know I'd have to replace it since they are unrepairable, at least by any skillset I have. I've decided I'll have to get a couple of those ugly plastic resin chairs, which do indeed have long lives. But I didn't replace it soon enough.

Sunday afternoon, when the sunlight had gone entirely behind the fence and the big bush and the trees across the bike path, I sat down to enjoy a bit of fresh (though still sultry) air, and almost immediately heard a tearing noise. The bottom of the seat just tore right out, and my ass hit the ground with a thud. Because a stronger part of the seat along the front edge remained intact, my legs were stuck up against my chest, and they were constrained by that band of canvas in such a way that I couldn't get up. When I tried to pull myself up by the arms of the chair it threatened to topple sideways, one way or the other, which would have left me entirely helpless, and perhaps injured. Rocking the chair forward would likely have sent me headlong into the sliding glass door, and might well have damaged my ankles or knees or both.

My back yard, surrounded by a tall fence, is accessible only through the apartment, or by climbing that tall fence. Nobody has been home in the apartment next door, which has a similar back yard adjacent to mine, and people rarely come all the way to the back of the driveway, so were I to call for help the only person likely to hear it would be a random stranger passing along the bike path. My phone was indoors. I pictured myself sitting there, folded oddly, slowly dehydrating, until Monday evening when one of the other tenants would be sure so go back to fetch their wheelie bin, about thirty feet away from my fence, and I'd be able to attract their attention— assuming I was still conscious.

That option didn't seem very good, so I continued to try to extricate myself from the chair trap, and after about five minutes of struggle I did manage to hoist my thighs up onto that remaining strip of canvas and then pull myself up to a standing position using the arms of the chair, though the whole apparatus threatened to collapse in a tangled heap at any moment, which likely would have left me even worse off. But I did get out, though I now have a sore shoulder and hip and tailbone, and I will certainly never buy (or sit in) another canvas camp chair. But what really ticks me off is that when my parents moved to Paradise they bought an inexpensive folding chair of a slightly different type, but with canvas seat and back, and it was still intact and functional the day it burned with everything else, after 32 years. Now I have to make the Old Guy complaint, why don't they make them like that anymore? I think being that old guy hurts even more than my tailbone does.