The Victorian sofa concept is perfect for idling, says Robert Wringham
Those deeply committed to idleness might want to invest in this truly excellent piece of idling equipment: a chaise.
Do not do this aspirationally — never make an aspirational purchase lest your house become filled with drum kits, cricket pads, board games and multi gyms—but against aspiration and as a full-bodied commitment to the idle life. One’s surroundings should be conducive to idling: all roads should lead to it even if we must fit it in around Wage Slavery.
I do my best idling from the chaise. My partner bought it a couple of years before we met each other, which was partly how I knew she was the one for me.
Ours is not in the shape of the iconic chaise longue one often sees in Regency dramas because ours has an arm at each end. This allows you to put your feet up instead of having them dangle listlessly and Humpty Dumpty-like over the side.
The trouble with the longue is that said dangling causes blood to run to the feet, which is the last place you want it lest it inspire action. With feet up instead, the blood runs directly to the arse, which prompts inaction, which is the whole point of having a chaise in the first place.
With feet in the air, you can now hook the back of your skull over the other arm so that your body forms a happy “v”-shape, like a child’s picture of a bird in flight, while you read or nap or nourish yourself with a fantasy or a grudge with fingers gently steepled.
Our chaise is green, which, being the colour of absinthe and emeralds and a witch’s skin, is the finest colour in the world and promotes decadence. Our chaise is a chartreuse green, which reminds one pleasantly of that curious liqueur.
The chaise sits in the corner of the room, within peeping distance of a bookcase (“all the words I do not need to read today,” I sometimes think, in the spirit of Jerome K. Jerome’s “I like work: it fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours”) with a potted palm drooping over it for shade.
We love the chaise so much that we dragged it all the way from Montreal where we used to live. Given our minimalist lifestyle is motivated by mobility, shunting this ludicrous item onto an Atlantic-bound ship moored on the St. Lawrence felt like an act of insanity. “Get a chaise across an ocean” would be a key event in an Absurdist Olympics. When our Montrealer friend Shanti came to see our new UK home, she could not believe her eyes. “The chartreuse couch!” she cried, seeing at once the madness of which we were capable in the name of idling.
Now, everything revolves around said chaise. Will I read aboard it or elsewhere? Will lunch occur on or merely near it? If I’m offered a spot of work, I calculate how far away and for how long it will take me from our chaise. And work, incidentally, must never be conducted from one’s true idling spot.