I had the unique opportunity to go furniture shopping with two exceptionally gifted geeks the other day. Knowing a few of the species already, as you will remember from my previous posts, I was prepared to not expect the expected. And I was rewarded with the opportunity to collect enough information about this blog. Or, as the two I observed would say, enough data.
If you had observed us from a distance (I’m keeping myself invisible here. I often wished I was.) you would have noticed the following:
- Two stressed people getting out of a small car parked exactly parallel to the two white lines.
- One of two said people quickly moving between the few cars, parked so early in the morning, looking about for parking violation signs, quickly corroborating one sign with another.
- The second figure, bent forward in a stressed manner, proceeding towards the door, with a notepad and several sheets of paper in different colours, walking in through the glass doors in a stressed manner.
The said sheets of paper, understandably, contained measurements which needed to be verified by an encounter with actual furniture.
Before this event, the previous evening, two disturbing discoveries had been made already, and possible disaster averted:
- The measuring tape itself, bought in a preoccupied moment on a city sidewalk, was found to have a deadly flaw. Hidden within a metallic end of the tape was an inch less of tape than the total length claimed by the hapless manufacturer.
- An item of furniture, rather oblong in shape, was described online by the store to measure such and such inches in length and breadth. One of the sheets, carried into the store by person 2, hence, contained a printout with two words: “MAJOR AXIS?? MINOR AXIS ??” with two question marks against them.
The notepad contained the following diagram, one of twelve pages:
The inside of the store was rather phantasmagoric for said two geeks, being that it was an expensive store so that tables and chairs and dressers were bent into ornate, floral shapes from eras past in heavy, hardwood collections named Renaissance, Baroque, Regency and such like.
The furniture–their purpose mystifying, their angles hidden, their geometry indeterminable.
Most of all, the logic behind their manufacture obscure: If lighter stuff could be made where the ratio of the weight to stress was less, using material such as fiberglass in more angular shapes, why go back to Baroque?
Then, there was the innate problem with definitions. What was the difference between an end table and an accent table? Between a small couch and a loveseat?
This proved an extremely difficult speculative project for the store supervisor, who, after several rounds of explainings, still kept confusing “properties” of said objects with “definitions” and then finally was seen disappearing into the restroom area.
Hence, after several more sets of measurements and research possibilities laid out, two figures were seen coming out of the glass doors described earlier with four more sheets of paper filled in.
Thus ended my observation session.