A 40-minute furniture phone call

Kristine Gill

I spent 40 minutes on the phone with my father the other night talking about furniture for my apartment. It was about 11 p.m., so my dad wasn’t at work, and because it was the weekend, he didn’t have to get up for work. My dad had all the time in the world to talk to me on the phone, and I wouldn’t have minded. No, the length of the conversation wasn’t what bothered me; it was the subject matter.

My dad spent nearly all of the 40 minutes of our conversation trying to convince me to use an old desk he had used as a child as a stand for my hand-me-down TV and thrift store fish tank in my bedroom. I tried telling my dad gently that while the 29-inch by 43-inch by 18-inch dimensions of the desk sounded fine, I really wasn’t sure it would fit in my room, which was slowly filling with furniture and clutter. I tried to tell him that I wasn’t sure it would be deep enough to hold my massive tube TV that warps every picture into a green mess. I tried telling him that a TV and a tank might crush the desk.

He had a comeback for everything. He said, “Kristine, I thought you liked being thrifty and using stuff you already had.” I said, “Yeah, Dad, I do, but I don’t like using furniture for things it wasn’t intended for. I don’t want to use a desk as a kitchen table.”

My dad was, of course, referring to the fact that the only thing in my bedroom that I bought for the move to an apartment had been a $5 dresser at a garage sale that my stepfather repainted for me.

I told my dad that I wanted a new TV, too, because the one he gave me from my stepbrother made every picture green. He told me to wait until Christmas, just like my mom had told me. But I don’t want to wait until Christmas and waste an entire holiday of presents on a nice TV. I want a crappy tube TV from Wal-Mart that isn’t green and I want it tomorrow. The idea of turning on my TV and seeing green faces gives me a headache. My dad told me, “It’s a TV where there wasn’t one.” And anger where there wasn’t any.

I have more patience and a better tolerance for my father’s tendency to talk over the phone than my sister. I’ve had conversations where my dad tells me the entire plot of a movie and I insert “mmms” and “yeahs” at various intervals while surfing Facebook. It can be frustrating or boring even, but I really don’t mind listening to him. I don’t see him as often as I used to, so if all I get from our daily conversation is the rundown for “Galaxy Quest” with Tim Allen and the assurance that “You would love it Kristine. You and Katie would totally get a kick out of it,” that’s fine by me.

Like I said, I don’t mind listening to my dad talk or talking to him, but my sister hates phone conversations in general and when Dad gets to ramblin’ Katie gets to grumblin’.

I got to grumblin’ myself when Dad started trying to give me his desk. I went from being nice to being blunt: “No, dad, I don’t really want it. I don’t know. I’ll find something else.” He made me write down the dimensions. “Dad, I’m just going to see if Ron (my step dad) can build me one. I’ll find an entertainment center at the thrift store. You’re stressing me out.”

The conversation finally ended. He’s bringing me the desk to look at next week.

Kristine Gill is a junior newspaper journalism major and columnist for the Summer Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].