Working at Room & Board can really get under your skin and affect your life outside the showroom; it’s sorta like eating a powdered sugar donut. You know how when you first see a powdered sugar donut your impulse is to cram the whole sugary confection into your eating hole, right? (Surely I’m not the only one who feels this way.) You pick up a napkin and try to restrain yourself and eat it slowly so as not to get powdered sugar all over your face, but the you can’t resist the urge and before you know it, you are in the middle of a powdered sugar cloud like Pigpen from the Peanuts comic strip. Hours later, when you are on the subway or at the grocery store, you may catch a glimpse of yourself in the reflection of a window and see a remnant of white sugar on your forehead alerting everyone that some time earlier in the day, you went downtown Julie Brown on a powdered sugar donut. What I’m saying is, the experience stays with you long after the activity is done. That’s what I mean about working at Room & Board.
I was in Texas this week visiting my family and seeing how long a glass of Sauvignon Blanc can stay moderately cool in 90 degree heat. (Answer: about four minutes.) In my parent’s house, they have a dining table that is very large and surrounded by eight chairs. The table is rarely used for dining and serves as a catch-all for everything from laundry to keys to the homework of niece. Every time I walked by the table, I found myself pacing around it to gently slide the chairs underneath the table making sure they were all of equal distance from one another. This is what I do every day I am at work, whether it be an Adams, Andover, Portica or Ventura: I reposition chairs around those tables so that the furniture looks its very best. It’s in my blood now and I know that whenever I see a dining chair slightly askew from its table I am going to have to fix it so it looks neat and tidy. I do the same thing with the cushions on the sofas of my friends’ homes, smoothing them out and fluffing the pillows and I will straighten a crooked mirror or picture frame regardless of where I am.
Room & Board has done this to me and I don’t mind it one bit. It’s under my skin. Some things stick with you, be it the urge to straighten dining chairs because you did it all day at work or be it powdered sugar because you crammed a donut into your mouth.