The Sofa Switch

Late one night, binging on episodes of The Sopranos way past our bedtimes, Husband hatched an excellent idea: A sofa that could rise to the second floor and dump us in bed with a flip of a switch. At the time, I mocked the idea. Ever since then, I pine for that kind of sofa switch. Every time I bring it up, Husband says I'm banned from using the future device because I made fun of it. He's pretty smug about it. I'd like to say that taught me to never mock any ideas. But that would be a lie.

Wish I could have used a similar device to switch sofas with Trailer Lady.


I bought a sumptuous, expansive, two-year-old sofa, complete with custom throw pillows, off of an app that's made for local transactions. That heavy piece of furniture came from a childless couple's immaculate home. 

To make room for this grown-up sofa, our decrepit, pre-oil Clampetts-style sofa had to go. After a half-hearted attempt to sell the sucky sofa, I re-posted it for free and said we'd deliver for a negotiated fee. Almost immediately, I got two requests for it. The first one came from a woman who said she had a degenerative disease and lived in a trailer less than 10 miles from us. The second message simply asked if it was still available.


I searched for another name or phrase for Trailer Lady because it's stereotypical, predjuice-y, and snobby. I wouldn't write House Lady or Apartment Lady. To be fair, when she contacted me, Trailer Lady noted that she lived in a trailer. 


Unlike Lady GaGa, I have no poker face. I "completely spazzed" when I put down the old ottoman on the filthy, slipping laminate square tiles in Trailer Lady's kitchen. That's how Son described my reaction when I saw dozens of bugs of all sizes scatter across the floor.

First time in a trailer? Sister asked when I described the scene to her. 

Yes. And just like the first time I attended a party in a mansion, I won't forget the environment or the strong, conflicting feelings that swirled within me. 

In the trailer, I felt: Disgusted, guilty, revulsed, sympathetic, frightened, judgmental, spoiled, annoyed, weak, strong, and desperate to get the hell out of there.

The bitch boss in me wanted to bark at Trailer Lady: Turn off the damn TV, wash the damn dishes piled high in the sink and on every surface. Clean them and put them away. If the cabinets are dirty, wipe them. If you can afford to pay my son a few bucks, you can afford soap, right? Find the strength, the time. You don't look sick, you just look like a slob.

Seeing my obvious discomfort in her home, which she apologized for not cleaning, Trailer Lady rambled. About how big the roaches are in this part of the country. About the landlord who paid for regular exterminator visits. About how the mice, which she can handle because she grew up on a farm in the Midwest. About why she could never live with rats because rats are bigger and dirtier than mice. 

Like an obnoxious cop, I put my hand up to her to stop her from talking while I struggled to push the old sofa through her front door. I felt terrible for doing that, so I agreed with her, girlfriend-to-girlfriend, about drawing the line at rats. "That's great the landlord pays for the exterminator. The perks of renting!" I chirped.

And just like that, I went from obnoxious cop to super idiot.


That night, after a long shower, I sat on our new sofa with our tween Daughter. She stretched her skinny legs out on the furniture, tossed one of the round-shaped pillows back and forth with me, and sighed with contentment. When asked about where our old sofa went, I began to describe the trailer. Daughter put her hand out, signaling me to stop talking as she buried her head in the cushions. 

"What's wrong?"

Her muffled, tearful reply: "That sofa has good memories and I don't want to think about it going to a bad place."

I edged closer to her. "It went to a place where they need it, so it is in a good place. Hopefully, they will have happy memories on it, too. And it just would have gone to the dump--"

"OK, stop talking."

Where does she get that? 










Jennifer Zajac