My son draws on the dining room table. We brought it home a few years ago and I handed my son markers and said, “Have at it.” Squiggles and dots decorate the legs, color splotches the sides, random marks and doodles cover the top. When guests come over for dinner, this is the table we eat on. This is not an effort to turn my child into Baby Picasso (Guernica by baby anyone?), but more way to avoid a polished table top.
My grandmother refused to have a dining room table. They were too big, too much trouble, and ugly. If some terrible leering table lurked in her past, I shall never know. But when guests came over, everyone sat in a comfy chair with a TV dinner tray. The television wasn’t on, the food was cooked from scratch, the silverware was really silver, and the plates were china. TV dinner tray was no excuse to put your elbows on the table or forget to put your napkin in your lap.
I never thought her table animosity had survived through me, but as I confess to my husband no desire to ever sand down and refinish our table, I must admit to this strange family prejudice. It is like those gleaming polished surfaces of empty dining room tables suck out the soul.
Why do I believe that people with cluttered spaces are more imaginative, more interesting? This is probably not true, but it is hard to get rid of this idea. What about you? What notions of neatness do you possess? How polished is your table? And if your table shines, can you actually sit at it and write?