Gretchen Anthony
MeAndMary.jpg

Essays

In Defense of Couch Life

I know you want me to get up, you haters of all things sedentary, but man, oh man, I do love the couch.

Photo: Napoleon and the Man on the Grey Couch. Wikimedia Commons

I know you want me to get off the couch, you haters of sedentary life, you cross-fitting, PTA-leading, kitchen floor-mopping doers of deeds. I know the sight of me sitting here makes you smile with prim indignation and gives you permission to think, albeit secretly, I bet her closets are a mess. Yes they are and here I sit and if I can, I’m gonna scrunch down just a bit further and snuggle in tight — partly because I know it drives you crazy and also because man, oh man, I do love the couch.

Let’s start with the obvious reasons: House of CardsBasketsThe Good WifeAlpha HouseTransparentBreaking Bad cum Better Call SaulThe Big Bang TheoryDoc MartinMythBustersNurse JackieDownton AbbeyAmerican ExperienceFrontline. And I’m not too proud to admit to Grey’s Anatomy or How to Get Away with Murder, either. Heck, I’ll even throw in Married at First Sight. I know I’m not alone in my couch-loving television bliss. I’m just the one admitting to it. But I know you. You watched the final episode of M*A*S*H with your whole family huddled around your console television, then you love-hated on Alex P. Keaton and watched The Fonz jump the shark. Schlemiel, Schlimazel. Hasenpfeffer Incorporated. (If you were born in the 70’s but can’t sing that last part, I don’t even want to know you.)

When I was a kid we didn’t have a TV in the family room. When pressed, my mom repeated inane reasons like, the family room is for being a family and they don’t call it the boob tube for nothing. Whatevs. We had HBO in the basement. As far as my brother and I were concerned, the family room was the couch, and as far as that was concerned, the couch was for fighting over when one of us wanted to stretch out and read the Sunday comics and the weekly Target circular because, really, how was I supposed to know what Garfield was doing or if cat food was on sale if I didn’t have a place to read?

Photo: Target Corporation

It also so happened that our couch at that time was deep sea blue, providing us the perfect backdrop for playing “Superfriends,” a game that consisted almost entirely of diving off said couch into an ocean of cushions. My brother always got to be Aquaman, delegating me the role of sidekick. It wasn’t until I’d been married for several years that my husband broke the news that Aquaman didn’t actually have a side-kick, which clearly I would have known if I’d had a TV in the family room and been able to watch more “Superfriends.”

The point of all this being, Judgey McJudgers, is that yeah, I read. On the couch. I finished re-reading the Prince of Tides a week before Pat Conroy died (I could make a terrible joke about foresight here, but it’s too soon). Last week I read Jan Karon and just yesterday I started and nearly finished Nora Ephron’s final book of essays. Within that span of real time and imaginary space I went from South Carolina to New York City to North Carolina to California and back to New York. And that’s not even including my audiobook selections because they don’t count — I listen to them when I’m exercising. (Bet you didn’t see that coming).

There is, too, the sleeping, a habit I’ve admitted to before. In fact, we just moved the overstuffed velvet couch that eased my belly through three ginormous pregnancies down to the basement. I miss its giant, stick-one-between-your-knees-and-two-under-your-head pillows; they got me through many a toss-filled night. It was also on that couch that, after receiving a call from a client who made her assistant scour the internet for my home phone number at 7 o’clock on a Sunday morning, I quit my last agency job. That couch gave me sleep, helped me gestate and gave me a backbone. I’m not sure I could sing much higher praise.

Except this: we replaced it with the glory of all couches — a sectional.

Don’t even get me started. I don’t have time. My son and I want to catch up on Worst Cooks in America.

 

Photo: Napoleon and the Man on the Grey Couch. Wikimedia Commons