I always knew I would be a chair.
I did not know which kind-but I had the feeling people would sit on me for the rest of my life. I was seated basking in the sun when he walked in. He had a huge afro, brown patched trousers that barely scraped his ankles and an old silver Seiko watch. I was taking in the view of the town and hoping someone would take me home. His eyes, like everybody else, settled on Matiwa. Yes, even chairs have names. If you look up any directory you will learn that there are over one hundred and twenty four types of chairs. There are those made of either hard wood or soft wood. Now, the most common hardwood in Africa is Mahogany. It is the best and most expensive. Very few Carpenters get the privilege of working with this kind of wood. When they do, the finished product is always most expensive. Allow me to tell you about our names. Every Creator gives his product a name. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but just a right name for the product. Writers name books, painters name their paintings, musicians their songs and hence Carpenters their products. Matiwa is named after the owner. First rule of naming a product; give it some connection to its source. All chairs made by Otiwa get a name. Otiwa is the man who created me. So, since he made Matiwa using Mahogany-he gave him the first two letters to symbolize that affection. At this point you are probably wondering what my name is. Truth is, I don’t know and I never want to. It wouldn’t change the fact that I have been sat on all my life. When Michael walked in his eyes landed on Matiwa-just like all the other customers. He changed his mind when he heard the price. He walked around the shed for a while before settling on me. When I saw him, his thin dull face had this promising look. I knew he would be kind to me. See, the thing about humans is that they are visual. I have heard the women who come here complain that men go with what they see. But, with chairs-it’s not what you see but the skill that matters. See, a well crafted chair will be bought. But Matiwa was not just crafted-he was designed. He had a purpose that spoke of comfort, style and elegance. You would look at him and think that he could earn you prestige amongst your peers. A crafted chair has raw talent and blessings from his master. Every joint is in place and it fits just fine. It is one of those items you see at a show and immediately picture yourself seated on it- alone, reading a book or listening to music. If you stare at a chair and picture yourself with your friends having fun-then it isn’t well crafted. I say so because you had to picture yourself enjoying it with others. A designed chair on the other hand serves a purpose. I hear that humans call it ergonomics. It’s where a chair is made to fulfill a purpose. Out of those one hundred and twenty four types I have told you about, most of them are products of ergonomics. They sprang about because humans forgot what it was like to care for things. People just figured they needed things they could use. They never did the Math-and now you end up having a battle of the chairs in your house every time you go to bed. Yes, chairs do argue! We argue so loud that even the silent night cannot hear us. What do you expect when you have a couch, dining chair, lounge chair, patio chair, high chair, desk-chair in the house? It’s a battle that never ends. Take it from me.
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Who knew a short story published in 2014 could still remind me of what writing felt like back then? 🙂 Have a lovely weekend.