True Confessions: I Am Afraid of Coffee Tables
It's true. I have a deep fear of coffee tables, and this very rational fear has sometimes caused problems in my relationships. I tried, for awhile, to ignore the fear of coffee tables and let one into my life but I couldn't do it. I had to kick it to the curb -- literally.
When I got married, my (now ex) mother-in-law gave me an old coffee table and end table. I appreciated the end table, but the coffee table made me break out in a nervous sweat. I smiled and thanked her and we took it home. My (now ex) had grown up with that particular coffee table and was not afraid of it. He liked it. So it lived in the normal coffee table position of our living room for a year or so. When I couldn't take it any more, I moved it to an empty wall in the hallway. I told him I was tired of the furniture in the same old way and wanted a change. He wanted the coffee table back, to put his feet on, so I bought him a recliner.
That coffee table lived in a variety of places in my house, sometimes in the normal place but almost always hidden away -- particularly once my first child was born.
When we moved to the Philippines and could not take our furniture, I thought I was finally done with coffee tables for good. But my (now ex) husband ordered one from base housing supply. I was livid. I put it in the maid's room. He brought it back. I threw it in the yard. We argued over this for days. It ended up in the maid's room.
Years later, I met TW. We moved in together. We had no coffee table -- until her mother moved to Denver and we ended up with a ton of her old furniture, including a coffee table. Some big slab marble thing that TW swore was an antique. It went into the garage. TW was not pleased.
I do not like coffee tables. It doesn't matter that there have been no young children in my home for a gazillion years. It doesn't matter that I didn't bother child-proofing my home when I had young children. The outlets had no covers. The breakables were not moved out of harms way. The cleaning supplies stayed under the kitchen cabinet. The scissors were in the junk drawer.
It doesn't matter. I cannot put my fear of the coffee table behind me.
You're wondering what horrible thing happened to me that caused this deep fear of the coffee table, aren't you? That's the funny thing: Nothing happened to me. But, I do very clearly remember my brother hitting his ear on a coffee table and having stitches.
I've held onto that memory for more than 40 years.
When I sat down to write this post, I began to question whether my memory was even real -- so I talked to my mom who did indeed remember this happening. I thought it happened at my aunt and uncle's house in Maryland. Mom said no, it happened at a friend of my father's but she couldn't remember whose house it was. My mom also mentioned that my brother doesn't own a coffee table either and she wondered if he had the same type of fear of coffee tables that I did.
I called my brother and he does indeed remember the coffee table incident and remembers exactly whose house we were at. He remembers playing with toothpicks (I don't remember that) and a rubber ball (I do remember this). He remembers falling, hitting his ear, getting stitches. He does not currently own a coffee table but he has in the past - and he has no fear of them. (Or so he says. I don't believe him. I think he just said that to try to make me look stupid. Little brothers are like that.)
Do you own a coffee table? (If you do, could you hide it before I come to visit?)
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