I’m in North Carolina. The drive down here was long. It was at least three hours longer than we expected, and I was sitting on the back seat of that Mini Cooper all the way down. We couldn’t take the top down because it was raining most of the way. It was pretty uneventful. I don’t know about road tripping to see the country. I saw a lot of highway. We stopped regularly at gas stations for ablution breaks and nibbles. So I saw a lot of highways and experienced a lot of petrol station ladies looz.
We were getting closer to our destination and had stopped for a break. One of the ladies asked the guy at the cash desk how far it was to Winston-Salem, his response in a delightful drawl was “Ah shoor doe-noe”. Isn’t that great! I think I shall no longer say ‘Dunno’. Or ‘I have no idea’ or any of the other phrases that I like to use to declare my ignorance. “Dang, ah shoor doe-noe”. It’s the business.
We passed huge signs advertising what can only be the American version of Chissa Nyama. My favourite one read ‘Best Dang BBQ in Virginia’. Dang, that made me wanna hoe down munch some chissa nyama Virginia style.
I think in other places they call it a misrepresentation of the facts. In North Carolina they call it a suite. In SA when they say a suite they mean that you get two maybe even three rooms. In Winston-Salem it means you get one double bed in the room, rather than two double beds. So it’s not a suite as we know a suite. It’s a double room. But the two beds should be a double room. It’s a deluxe, maybe. When I was in London a few years ago I was upgraded from a standard room to a deluxe. I was shown to my standard where everything in the room was dark brown. It was really depressing. I couldn’t. I asked the reception for another room and they sent me to one that was browner, and only had a view of a brick wall. I declined that one. I was staying for ten days. Ten days of dark brown. Who can stand it? And these places ain’t cheap, hey!
So they very kindly upgraded me to a deluxe room, which meant I got a bigger room with the same relentless brown everything, but it had lots of windows letting in lots of light and there was a throw across the bottom of the bed that was dark leafy green. I have never been so happy to see a bit of green. I accepted with alacrity.
When I queried the suite story with the receptionist in North Carolina, she said very firmly. ‘Here it’s a suite’. Well, she can call it that if she wants, I guess. I call it a deluxe room. We had to get another room. We would have shared the suite if it had a bedroom and lounge with a pull out bed. The hotel is ok. It’s not the Sandton Towers, or even the Sandton Sun. It’s more of a Holiday Inn type vibe. It’s comfortable enough and it’s clean and the bath plug doesn’t let the water seep out while your soaking. Don’t you hate those hotel rooms that do that? I understand that bathing uses a lot of water, so maybe they don’t want people to bathe. Well they shouldn’t tease us and toy with us. What kind of a thing is that? Besides, why have the leaky plug? It’s going to waste the water. It doesn’t stop people from taking a bath. They just end up topping it up as often as it loses level, which is much more of a waste, isn’t it?
Who was it that said that the temperatures in North Carolina were going to be sizzly? It is freezing, and I, the one with an absolute horror of being cold, have left all my everything remotely warm in Connecticut, because I was expecting a heat wave in North Carolina. I was looking forward to extremes of heat.
The furniture market is vast. What’s bigger than vast? Whatever it is, that’s the size of this place. If you can imagine a town the size of Sandton CBD and every building is, at least, the size of the Convention Centre and in each building on every floor, side by side are furniture showrooms. It’s a furniture mecca. It’s incredible. I’m not buying, but two of my friends are buying. One for her shop and another is buying for her house. I’m along for the ride, to see more of America and I’m looking in awe and amazement.
There’s the inevitable Chinese stuff. There’s the British stuff, which is hand made or antique and lovely, then there’s the other stuff.
Most of the things we saw left me cold. The other ladies were admiring this and that, but I was unmoved by most of it. What did move me, moved me in an unpleasant way. For example, there was one section that was full of Provencal style distressed furniture. I understand that look. It’s commonly called Shabby Chic. I call this stuff a hot mess. It can be nice if done well, and in the right space. This stuff just looked like a botch. It was distressed into a paroxysm. It was screaming in distress. I was distressed just looking at it.
It doesn’t really make sense to me to get rid of old furniture and then go out and buy new furniture that looks ramshackle and deteriorated, and just damn ugly. It was all shabby and no chic. It was tragic. It’s a matter of personal aesthetic, I know. My personal aesthetic says no to that stuff, but that’s just me. Other people think it’s lovely.
The other thing that had my gills greening up was the Swarovski furniture. Tacky, tacky, tacky! There was a white leatherette chair with a button back, but instead of buttons it had Swarovski crystals and two tables with legs embossed with crystals. It would be more polite to say I didn’t understand it. There was Swarovski wallpaper. I like Swarovski as much as the next girl. I love a bit of bling, but this was ghastly. It earned a huge no! Frankly, I’m surprised at Swarovski.
I have much to say about what I didn’t like because there was so much I didn’t like. But these two I didn’t like the most. Most that I didn’t like isn’t worth mention. I guess it’s all dictated by the space one is working with and the other things in that space and if you’re taking a piece on it’s own, out of context maybe it’s not so nice, but when you place it in context it works. Ah shoor doe noe!
We walked all day. The other ladies have gone to a party, but I can’t. I’m so finished I just want to fall on the bed and go to sleep. Right, I’ll get on with that, then.