Futons have come a long way in the twenty years since my son had one. His bedroom was small, so a folding bed had been a good fit, but the frame had so many loose parts it was impossible to keep the contraption in one piece, and the mattress felt as if it had been packed with sand. I don’t know how he slept in it all those years. It may be one of the reasons his back bothers him as an adult.
Picking a New Futon
I wanted a futon for a guest room. The new frames are easy to open and close, and the mattresses are soft and bouncy.I picked out a futon from “Mattress & Futon Geeks,” a store with an interesting name that later made sense to me. The 30-something salesman called to check availability at their main store or warehouse. “Bad news,” he said. “That frame is actually out of stock. It’s, um, backordered. Like for months.” He feigned an apologetic look.
I found a different style in the same finish, and sat while he called again about this model. While on hold, he blinked at me and then opened his eyes wide. “Wow. I was up till 2:30 last night watching a show. I don’t know why I did that. Now I’m paying for it.” He laughed.
I wondered what kind of a show, and why it should matter to me. Was he preparing me in case my order went haywire, if instead of a basic futon I mistakenly got an Ergo-plus remote control vibrating bed?
The Notorious Sweater
He drummed his fingers on his desk while we waited. He was wearing a Big Lebowski sweater. I’d scoured the Internet for a similar one last Christmas for my son. It took me a long time to find one. They were surprisingly pricey, a few over 300 bucks. I considered complimenting the salesman on his sweater to make him feel better since, apparently, he wasn’t in a good place, but then I noticed three snagged threads of yarn, two of them several inches long, hanging from the front. If he were my son, I would have shown him how to push the snags back through to the other side. I’d tell him, You shouldn’t wear a sweater with threads pulled out like that. Especially to work.
Good news: the order was a go. I gave him my address and phone number. Noticing he’d written a number wrong, I corrected him.
“Oh. Ha ha. I’m sorry. It’s because I’m so sleepy,” he said, as if when he’s well rested he doesn’t make such silly mistakes. I transpose numbers all the time, no matter how much sleep I get. “We’re all set.”
“Will it be delivered tomorrow?” I asked.
“Yeah. I’m pretty sure. I just called him twice to bug him about stock, so I don’t want to call him right back to ask. I’ll wait a while. You know.”
I didn’t know who he was referring to, but The Dude just made a sale — why would anyone be bugged? I began to imagine the possible reasons someone might find him annoying. “Well, can you let me know?”
“Absolutely. I’ll wait a few minutes, and then I’ll call you.” He smiled enthusiastically.
He never called
When he didn’t, I phoned the store that evening. The same guy answered.
“Let me check.” Long pause. I imagined him looking around, tapping his fingers, yawning. “Yeah. Yeah, it’ll definitely be there tomorrow. Sorry about that. It’s been that kind of day.”
I drink coffee when I have that kind of day. “Can you give me a window? Morning or afternoon?”
“Sure. Of course. Hmm… That’s weird. I don’t know why the schedule isn’t showing up on my computer. You know what? I’ll have to call you.”
So what’s in a Sweater?
This may not seem particularly evasive to you, but I had a bad experience with a furniture store after my mother had paid in full for a bedroom set for my daughter. Every time I called, the salesman fed me a different line: “It’s being built in North Carolina as we speak.” “The paint is drying.” “They’re waiting to fill the truck before it leaves the warehouse.” “It’s somewhere between North Carolina and Ohio.” Finally I went to the store to find a sign on a locked door. Seized by the bank.
So I couldn’t help wondering if The Dude was bullshitting me.
The next day, since I hadn’t heard anything, I called the store at 11:00 am. Same guy answered. He apologized. I heard the ruffle of paperwork. “Uh… it’ll be there between noon and 3:00. Sorry about that. I told an employee to call you. I don’t know what happened.”
I didn’t believe there was another employee. It seemed to me the store was a one-man showroom. Maybe his unravelling sweater had something to do with his attitude. Like, you know, well, uh, it was affecting his brain, man.
Later that afternoon, the futon was in our guest room, waiting for my granddaughter to bounce on it. It looks great.
My son didn’t like the Big Lebowski sweater I picked up on eBay for him last Christmas. If attitude can be influenced by clothing, maybe that’s a good thing.
Linda K. Sienkiewicz is the author of In the Context of Love, award winning women’s fiction about one woman’s need to tell her story without shame.
2017 Sarton Women’s Fiction Finalist
2016 Eric Hoffer Book Award Finalist
2016 Readers’ Favorite Finalist
2016 USA Book News Best Book Finalist
Great Midwest Book Fest Honorable Mention.
Angelica Schirrick had always suspected there was something deeply disturbing about her family, but the truth was more than she bargained for.
“…at once a love story, a cautionary tale, and an inspirational journey.” ~ Bonnie Jo Campbell, author of National Book Award Finalist, American Salvage, and critically acclaimed Once Upon a River,and Mothers, Tell Your Daughters