Tuesday, August 25, 2009

plain as day

While we're on the subject of my domestic deficiencies, let's move on to my decorating prowess or lack thereof. I am what you might call decorationally challenged. My walls are stark, my rooms utilitarian. It isn't that I don't appreciate beautiful things. Or that I don't know them when I see them. It is just that I don't know what beautiful things I need to bring into my home to make it look more aesthetically pleasing and welcoming.

Under my orchestration, my house is plain-vanilla, dry-as-toast, stark-white nothingness. It isn't that I particularly prefer it this way. I just don't know exactly what to do to make it look any different.

These are things that you must understand when I tell you my story.

I frequent a variety store run by Old Order Amish folks. Delightful people these Amish. They suffer me gladly. I bring a little hedonistic laughter into their regimented lives. I try my best to consider their customs. There is no hiding the fact that I am not one of them, but I do my best to make it quite clear that I respect their way of life and try not to appear to be an uncaring, unobservant clod. Naturally they are set apart, but that doesn't mean they aren't approachable. They put their bloomers on one leg at a time, just like the rest of us.

But I digress.

Not long ago, I was preparing to leave the Amish store with my children when nature called. My four-year old had to tinkle. As we stepped into the bathroom. (Yes, they have a bathroom with modern indoor plumbing.) Anyway, we stepped into the bathroom, and Dave takes one look at the place, stops dead in his tracks, crinkles his nose, and says, "Girly!"

The kid practically refused to do his business in there because the toilet was adorned with purple, frilly tank and toilet seat covers. He couldn't go there. Literally.

Fortunately in good time, he was able to overcome the shock of the adornment and do his business.

But the fact remained. There I was. Decorationally outdone by the Amish. The Plain People.

Nonplussed as I was leaving, I had to share my story with my friend, the Amish store manager. She laughs easily especially at me. Ahem, with me, that is. I related the fact that my house was stark and utilitarian with nary a decoration therein. I told her how my son balked when he saw their "girly" bathroom. I explained that where I come from if your house is plain and simple like that, people say you are "living like the Amish."

She got a good laugh out of that.