Designer’s Plus-One

I will never need to say, “if these walls could talk…” in reference to my apartment. This is not to say nothing of interest happens – it does, I assure you; we play Phase 10 regularly here. However, the walls, furniture, and decorations have been hand picked, prepared, painted, and placed by my graphic designer girlfriend. Needless to say, it is beautiful. Frequently, guests are so overtaken by its beauty that I must remind them we are not in Willy Wonka’s factory and the walls, if licked, will not taste like snozberries. Without exception, every new visitor remarks on the layout and the splash of color. If these walls could talk, the room would undoubtedly be vein (as to be expected, it was born and raised in Los Angeles), and everything they would say would already have been covered by its occupants. “Walls, what’s the most interesting thing that’s happened in the history of this room? Was there a murder or an attempt to train a gecko circus here?” “Why suggest such droll goings-ons? Can you not see this hand-crafted Emerald Coast floating desk underlying a series of descending, matching-framed cork-boards?”

And so I am cursed. I’ve been exposed to a world that I am too unskilled to participate in, and it has transformed me into a cynic. Like when a man (or woman, I don’t care what their ad campaign says) tastes Dr. Pepper for the first time, everything past sampled instantly becomes subpar in contrast. Now, whenever I’m at one of my friend’s homes, it’s as if I’m at the beginning of an episode of a Bravo reality series. I cringe at the state of the dwelling, then I cringe at my cringe. Even when listening to Cream’s “White Room,” I can’t help but wonder if the song would have reached Billboard’s number 1 had he spruced up the interior a bit.

But I have no knowledge of what is tasteful, only what is not as I stare at it. When asked how I would set up a room, I go into a slight panic. My mind races to times when I remember being moved by a room’s interior with pieces I can accurately describe. “I think it’d look cool if you had black light posters of mushrooms and dragons, and an enormous tie-dye tapestry draped across your ceiling.” Only after blurting this out do I realize that it was not so much the design I was moved by as the variables that caused those pieces to perform a reproduction of Glengarry Glen Ross as I giggled and attempted to get to second base with a pillow. If I’m exposed and am asked for suggestions, all I can offer is that they go to the nearest cafe or art school and attempt to pick up a graphic designer to date/decorate their place. A good method of initiating conversation is by casually mentioning that you believe your apartment building has been tagged with a Banksy and you’d love a keen eye to verify its authenticity.

Not everyone has a knack for design. I certainly don’t. The most impressive visual art I’ve created is an above average picture of Stephen Colbert for a game of Draw Something on my cracked-screen ipod. Living in this functional interior design exhibit with its creator has me torn between two worlds, and I now feel uncomfortable in both. I’ll safely continue to tread water in this limbo, though, as I have checked out a copy of “The Idiot’s Guide to Pintrest” from the library.

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