Tonalá, that great center of artisanship! Clint and I visited Tonalá to call on potter Salvador Vásquez (see previous post) and to buy some hand-blown bullseye glass—that oldest type of windowpane. I had hoped to photograph the glass blowers in action, but they had gone home for the day. Clint's transaction consisted primarily of delays: Issuing facturas (official receipts for income tax purposes) and counting change can take ever so long. I became bored and walked out of the glass factory, wandering down the street, coming across this...
... some of the most garish furniture I have ever seen. I was so shocked that I walked past it twice before I thought to photograph it—to share with all of you. You're welcome.
I couldn't imagine anyone putting stuff like this in an actual home. It looked uncomfortable, impractical, and exquisitely ugly.
Here, an orange vinyl end table flanks a red divan shaped like a pair of female lips. Lips!
When I got home, I looked these photos over, wondering how it is I can't comprehend tastes so different from my own. Suddenly an image flashed into my mind—of an ultramodern, hip apartment full of playful furniture and art: Spirals painted on the walls, 3" shag carpets, ameba-shaped glass coffee tables. I could see how this stuff might work.
I'm a Brooks Brothers kind of guy. Living in Mexico has been widening my range of tastes.
Once I called on Yahoo, Inc. during its early days. In the lobby they had placed yellow and violet upholstered wing chairs built so large that sitting in them made one fell like a five-year old. Playful. Perhaps I could accept this vinyl furniture as playful.
Yeah. I can see that.
I peered inside the furniture store. The first thing I saw was a painting of mama and baby giraffes.
An original painting rendered with a certain skill and little substance, I couldn't wrap my mind around what kind of decor it might enhance. A Motel 6 lobby, maybe.
The proprietor came running over, telling me to stop photographing his furniture.
"Because you'll steal my designs."
With effort, I am able to comprehend—somewhat dimly, perhaps—the esthetics of the vinyl furniture. A big step for me. Tastes that aren't congruent with mine should be valid; a tough concept for an engineer who thinks in terms of right and wrong. The giraffes, though—not them, not ever.
Mexico throws challenges at me. Today I'm in my late sixties, and I feel like I'm just now getting a glimpse of life's real lessons—like the spirituality of vinyl.