Golden Fantasia 3 cm Polished
We’ve been getting a lot of new slabs in lately, so every day when I walk through the warehouse, there are new things to see. The other day I happened to be walking through the gold/orange aisle when I came upon a granite slab that looked just like tiger stripes.
Once I had finished gaping at it for a couple of minutes, trying to visualize it as a kitchen island or counter tops, I reached the conclusion that it would be better if no fabricator’s rude blade ever cut it up. Protectively, I looked at the barcode on the side to find out what the material was called – ‘Golden Fantasia’ – and returned to my desk.
But that is not the end of the story. The fact is, everyone has different taste, and so even though I try to appreciate each material we have in stock, I prefer some to others. And I take a strong interest in the destiny of my favorites.
Perhaps it is because I have not yet reached the point in life where I am undertaking home-improvement projects that involve anything as grand as cutting a huge piece of stone, or perhaps it is for some other reason, but when I really like a stone I find myself hoping that the right sort of person (i.e., someone who shares my vision) will buy it.
Which is how we arrive at the history of the Wayward Husband. I have a feeling there will be many future posts involving the theme of wives who find themselves having to tamp down a husband’s suddenly rampant aesthetic notions. I have seen it happen several times now: a couple comes in, led by the wife—whose firm manner is matched by an equally concrete set of opinions.
This woman is a type, and the man who accompanies her is usually docile—at least when it comes to matters of interior design. It may be that he bosses an office full of minions 5 days a week, but when it comes to choosing out a stone for the kitchen or the bathroom, his wife’s opinion is the only one that matters, and she will brook no opposition.
In the case I am writing about right now, the wife was around 35 and impeccably dressed. At a diminutive 5’1”, she had the commanding presence of a military general. She was one of those modern-day Napoleons who, frustrated by the limited scope of their dominion, become all the more domineering when confronted with an act of insurgency. But I am getting ahead of myself.
This particular Napoleon knew exactly what she wanted, and once she had finished filling out the sign-in form, she strode directly into the warehouse to find it, trailing her husband and me behind her.
I was raised by a Napoleon, so I know just what to do. Keep your head down, pay attention, and obey. The husband obviously knew these rules too, and he followed them pretty well, except for the paying attention part—that is, he followed them pretty well at first.
Having received our marching orders, the husband and I helped the wife look for a neutral granite (more cream than pink) without splotches or too much color variation. But she didn’t want anything too ordinary. If you know anything about granite, you will appreciate the difficulty of satisfying all these requirements simultaneously, and it soon became clear that – like Don Quixote’s knights - the object of our quest existed only in our indomitable leader’s imagination.
The wife saw a couple of things she liked, but she wasn’t crazy about anything in particular. The more slabs we viewed, the clearer it became that her husband would rather be someplace else—perhaps even still in bed (it was 9:30 on a Saturday morning).
I could tell that the husband had been through this before. The minutes ticked by, and the wife (having settled on a few slabs) began to flit back and forth, happy with the color of one slab, but preferring the markings on another. The husband began to sigh.
When the wife asked me if there was any way to get the cinnamon-colored specks out of one of the stones, the husband began to mutter under his breath. I could feel the current of a battle moving beneath his sighs and mutterings.
In her frustration, the wife had begun to ask a series of rhetorical questions, and as soon as I realized that my presence was more of a hindrance than a help (because I could not give her the answers she wanted to hear), I decided it might be prudent to steer the husband into another aisle before his commentary got any louder.
At first, I thought he was simply disinterested in the whole selection process, but as we made our way down the next aisle, I noticed that he was reacting to some of the slabs we passed with a sort of suppressed enthusiasm. We had made it through the lighter aisles, and were now embarking upon the gold/orange aisle, when it happened…
If I was impressed by the glorious orange/gold-and-black tiger-stripe pattern of the Golden Fantasia, the husband was almost overwhelmed.
“This is it!” he said, evincing absolute certainty he’d just discovered the stone that would soon adorn the kitchen of his Connecticut home.
Basking for a moment in the stone’s thrall, he soon shot down the aisle and returned with his wife.
The wife was nonplussed. When the slab’s destiny was revealed to her, in the same words that had framed its destiny for my ears a mere minute before (“This is it!”), the expression on her face darkened.
But to her credit she did not speak. I guess the true Napoleons are like that—they’ve got the people around them so well conditioned that correction does not require words. All this one needed was a look.
“You’re right,” the husband said, backing down. And perhaps he would have let it go at that if he had been standing with his back to the Golden Fantasia.
But he was standing right in front of it, and the long, wafting golden stripes kept getting in amongst him.
“You’re right,” he continued, unwisely shifting his position. “We shouldn’t put it in the kitchen—we should use it for the floor in the front hall! That way, we wouldn’t have to cut it!”
Well, I could tell he was on a suicide mission, but after he said that my heart was with him all the way. He started to move back and forth, gesturing to different parts of the slab, pointing out its many virtues and beauties.
Meanwhile, the wife was getting stiller and more quiet. Not unlike a tiger about to strike a prey, now that I think of it… It was when the wife was so still that her energy seemed to be hanging in the air around her like a wall of icicles that the husband made his great tactical blunder.
So far, it was all talk, but when the husband turned to me and told me to hold the slab, something in the air began to change.
“Just put a note on it, or something,” he said, boldly. “We’re definitely gonna take it!”
Unused to this level of rebellion, the wife sputtered for a moment before finding her words. And even when she found them, she was terse.
“May I speak to you for a moment, dear,” she said, spitting out the last word venomously—and when the husband trotted over for a private tete-a-tete, he should have been oozing defeat out of every pore.
But he wasn’t. His appetite for battle had been stimulated, and there was no quelling it. The wife attempted to reason with him, but he continued to insist upon Golden Fantasia. Cold stares were exchanged, harsh words were said, and the next thing I knew, the husband was stalking out of the warehouse while the wife turned towards me with a hard, purposeful glint in her eye.
I know that look very well. It almost always portends the declaration of an unfulfillable demand. Skipping over the issue of whether such a thing existed or not, the wife jumped straight to the logistics of fabrication.
“When it comes in,” she said, referring I guess to the arrival of the nonexistent material she’d been describing for the past half hour, “how long will it take to cut and install it?”
“Um,” I said, hesitating.
Worried about the verbal drubbing I’d have to endure when I pointed out that the wife should ask her fabricator (and not a representative of the stone wholesaler) any questions she had regarding fabrication, I tried to think of an irrefutable yet unthreatening way of phrasing my response.
But the wife was already speeding back to the main office by the time I came up with something. When I made it back there myself, she was long gone.
“She left her card,” said the receptionist, looking a little wild-eyed. “She’ll be in touch.”
I keep hoping the husband will call instead to confirm an order for Golden Fantasia, but I fear his wings have been clipped. However, wings grow back, and maybe someday he’ll return for a project of his own.
Stone slabs are freaking heavy. They can weigh anywhere from 1000 lbs. to a full ton, which means it takes some serious effort to move them. I don’t know what happened thousands of years ago when they quarried stone, but it probably involved a lot of slave labor and many many oxen (or other beasts of burden—elephants, whatever).
So, to interrupt for a minute, I have to tell you that one of the inside sales reps at my company left to pursue a different career path. I asked for a promotion, and got it. So I am a burgeoning sales rep of stone now, which means (if nothing else) that I spend more time trotting through the warehouse.
Which means that I have become very aware of the stone-moving-pincer-thingy that travels across the ceiling of the warehouse.