Laurie Notaro and the Perfect Red Chair

Categories: Fun

Laurie Notaro is an author, crafter, and expert at finding a good cocktail. She grew up in Phoenix, but is currently based in Eugene, Oregon. Each week, she'll be joining us to share a crafting adventure, draw a flowchart, or remember a few of her favorite things about Phoenix. Today, she shares the story of her perfect red chair ...

Laurie Notaro
It was the grandest red chair I had ever seen.

The lines of the wings flared out at precise, perfect angles; the brass tacks lining the edges upholstered in a dark, deep red boucle were flawlessly aligned; the arms rolled slightly, as if going too far in one direction would be unforgivable.

I loved this chair.

Laurie Notaro
But it was too late. I had already pledged my allegiance to the antique dressing table that was displayed in the window of St. Vinnie's, my favorite thrift store. I had unabashedly lusted for a three-mirror table for most of my adult life, and I couldn't have found a more perfect one that if I had rubbed my own belly and made a wish.

The cashier had my debit card and a "SOLD" sticker was slapped on one of the mirrored panels before I even looked over and saw the glorious chair.

"How much is that?" I asked without a second of hesitation, knowing full well that if he said anything below sixty bucks, I was going to take it even though I knew that I was going to have trouble sneaking a dressing table into the house, let alone a huge 1930's wingback chair.

"It's $74.99," the cashier said without looking up, and handed me the receipt for the table.

"Oh," I scoffed, more grateful than anything that I had just escaped the trap I had set for myself. "That's far too much. Far too much."

But I had to pass the red chair on my way out. I reached out and touched the wool upholstery, still in great condition, eyed the broad, wide expanse of the seat, the sweeping curves that flared out with elegance of a bygone era.

I could not bring this chair home with me, I told myself, I cannot. I find it very difficult to pass up once-in-a-lifetime deals that happen all the time to me, and as a result, I already have not only a house but a basement full of furniture as well.

So when I came home with the announcement that my life-long quest for the perfect dressing table had just been completed, he was far less thrilled than I was.

"Great," he said without looking at me. "One more place you can put paper in."

See also: Rehabbing Furniture with Laurie Notaro (a Semi-Drunk How To)

"One more thing," I said, standing on my toes in unbridled excitement. "There's this red chai--"

"No," he said as he walked into the kitchen.

"But you don't understand," I said, presenting my case. "It's magnificent and--"

"No," he said finally, without even turning around.

Okay, I thought. I get the hint. I have pushed the limits with the vanity, I need to back off and let it go and forget about the chair.

For dinner, I made his favorite meal and after he took the first bite.

"This is great," he said, giving me the nod of approval.

"It really isn't great," I replied. "There are very few things in the world that are great, like Ben and Jerry's Chocolate Therapy, Yo Yo Ma, Gandhi, and the red chair. That's how awesome the red chair is."

He didn't say a word. He didn't even look at me.

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Laurie Notaro, you have done it again! Your stories always make me laugh so hard. That is a fantastic chair. I have the urge to nip down to my local St Vinnies and see if my estate sale is going on!


What a pleasure.  You need a black silk smoking jacket and a carved cigarette holder to sit in that chair. And an irascible attitude.  (Wait.  That last one's covered.)


Hoarding is a medical condition that is very treatable with a combination of therapy and medication.


@antoniamurphyNZ Irascible means angry. I'm not seeing that anywhere in the article. In fact, I think Laurie Notaro seems extremely easygoing.


 @LegitQuestions If your chairs have room for a person to sit in them, you're very possibly not a hoarder but just someone with a lot of chairs. Chairs are great!



 ""Great," he said without looking at me. "One more place you can put paper in."" - just give it time.

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