Last week I bought a bedspread that I thought I liked. It was going to be an accessory to my current bedding. Nowadays, it is very rare that someone just makes a bed in the morning, pulling the sheet up, straightening out the blanket, perhaps puffing up the pillows and calling it done. I actually always have to make my bed, every morning as that is something that is so ingrained in my fibre, that I even do it in hotels, motels, tents and so on. In our current way of living, making a bed has become an art form. It sends a message, perhaps contradictory, with pillows, large and small and some in between, in all sorts of shapes, and covers and duvets and coverlets and shams, that says, “Look at my bed! Isn’t is gorgeous and inviting? Doesn’t it look perfect? Don’t you want a bed that looks like this?” But the message is also “Don’t even THINK of sitting on it, laying on it or it will get wrecked”. It has become the plastic covered couch in the living room that was not for sitting on for the members of the household, but only for “COMPANY” of the mid-century generations.
But, I digress. So, I bought this bedspread, brought it home and left it in its plastic protective packaging, for quite a few days. I put it on top of my bed, unopened, and looked at whether it “matched” or “complemented” my other bedding. I was unbelievably ambivalent. A couple of days went by and I decided to jump right in (but not on, of course) and open the package and get down to this business of seeing how it looks. I took it out of the package, but did not throw the packaging away, and placed it, still folded on the bed. I left it there and it sat, like a lump, and I felt ridiculous and agitated, totally annoyed with the time I was spending on this piece of queen sized material. So, I now unfolded it and tried to refold it to arrange on the bed, and I found the tags which say “Under Penalty of Law This Tag Not to Be Removed Except By The Consumer”. I tore them off with complete abandon. I was, of course, the consumer. I placed the newly folded bedspread, the way I thought I would like it, on the bottom of the the bed. I hated it….so much. It looked awful. I knew I could not keep it. It was so ugly and did not complement anything. My quandary, those tags. I hadn’t thrown them away. I contemplated sewing them back on. I had a Lucille Ball moment of laughter realizing that I don’t sew a button on without using about half a small spool of thread, and stabbing myself at least once in the finger. I could not mimic the stitches of a sewing machine’s zigzag and replace it so that it looked like it had before I vandalized the bedspread. I was screwed. I felt like I had done something really dumb. I did not listen to my gut. I did not acknowledge that ambivalence is connected to our gut feelings. I tore those tags off, knowing I might have a problem. Now I had a problem because I was not going to keep that ugly bedspread, just on principle, because I was the designated consumer. I try to do the right thing and bam!
Later that night, I co-opted my FHB into being my co-conspirator (without ever telling him what I had done….with the tags). I asked him to help me fold back up the bedspread so that it would look the way it did before I took it out of the packaging. He is really good at doing things like this and he doesn’t ask questions…a very good trait at times. He never actually asked me why I bought it and what it was for. There are times when I say things,and I think that he wonders what it would be like for 20 seconds to be in my brain, and then he shudders and says nothing. I am pretty sure I saw that look if not the shudder. The deed was done. I found the receipt (how lucky was I), a bag from the unnamed store and put the ugly thing in the bag. This morning I walked back into the store and went to customer service,and was greeted like an old friend. There were no questions, I completed the transaction, and the woman never even asked why I was returning it. She gave me the cash, which I quickly threw in my purse ,and we exchanged “have a great day”s and I walked to my getaway car and thought… another close call.
Take away lesson from this….go with your gut. Sometimes, the bed looks fine and you don’t need another thing. Ambivalence is your brain’s way of telling you pay attention. Maybe it’s about a needed change, not about a bedspread.