Inanimate objects can be wonderful listeners. Just the other day I was telling this chair about my psoriasis. And did that chair interrupt my story? Not a once. An animate object–say, a baseball in midflight–would have moved out of hearing distance shortly after I started. A person? Well, they probably would’ve jumped in at the first pause, eager to one-up me with some yarn about a chronic condition much worse. Long story short: Not so hard to find a good listener if you alter your expectations.
The problem was somebody sat in the chair I was talking to. Just planted their flabby posterior right down in the middle of my confession. “Excuse me,” I said. Then louder: “Excuse me!” “Oh, oh. I’m sorry. Did you need this chair?” That kind of passive-aggressive politeness really irks me. “Yes. I do need that chair.” In a huff, they waddled to another spot but continued to give snide glances my way every few minutes. When I was finished, I took the chair with me.
Several times I asked if it had any problems to get off its seat. Nothing. Had lived a charmed life, although it did seem grateful to be out of that shitty diner. Some times… well, many times, silence is the best thing to share.
I woke up the next morning to the beeping sounds of a trash truck reversing down the alley. I felt the concrete under my side vibrate slightly before I actually heard the beeping. I peeked along the edge of my tarp. The chair had left in the night.