Last week a couch came to my corner of Brooklyn, and I can quite honestly say it has transformed the humble apartment in which I sleep and write. Two lovely men transported the couch – a faux-velour job in a pale coffee color, inexcusably comfortable for the price – three blocks from leafy Sterling to our broader, less-leafy street. (In lieu of a couch pic, a 2007 photo of me at our nearest corner prior to the neighborhood’s rapid gentrification.) I rewarded them with what passes for reasonable Thai food in Brooklyn. The old stereo equipment that had not been connected to anything – not even to its former owner, who left it behind when she moved out – was removed. The oversize rectangular table, which you never could quite trust to stay upright, went the way of all trash. In short, the space that for the past two years had been mostly for storing excess stuff, has been anointed “the family room”.
The transformation in our lives was instantaneous. The Coming of the Couch was the first night in months that all three roomies sat down together and, by jiminy, conversed with each other. Beers were drunk, green curry chicken was eaten, people were … happy. Over the Labor Day weekend, one room-mate reinstated the TV/DVD player to the family room, and the three branches of our grafted family tree gathered there again, drawn to the room as to our own Brooklyn Triangle, watching a young Oliver Reed play a tormented boy who grows up to be a werewolf. A reminder to the fortunate, perhaps, that not all transformations are good ones.