I went to a dumpling bar the other week, and other than I like dumplings (and bao buns), the chairs were the winning factor in choosing this restaurant over the ramen bar next to it, or the Mexican joint a few stalls down. This is big. I really like dumplings, but I am existentially enraptured by tacos. These chairs were so cool.

They were plastic, which in every other chair is a deterrent, but these ones were transparent and colourful like jelly lollies, and there was no way you could sit in one and still be in a bad mood (assuming you weren’t in the greatest of moods beforehand because of watching a  movie that was two hours longer than necessary and you are now are excessively hungry). 

After we sat down, my mood lifted, I didn’t give them a second thought. The food was delicious, the service was friendly and efficient, the company was fun – all the other more important elements of a restaurant took over. 

But the seats had done something very clever, maybe even a little philosophical, in that the chairs were their own promotion. They said ‘come, sit.’ They didn’t wait for promotional material to be posted on instagram, but chased their own destiny. A seat is not a seat until it is sat upon, and by the chairs’ self fulfilment of its purpose, it also fulfilled the purpose of the restaurant. A symbiotic relationship.

Your choice of chair says a lot about you. Not so much your deepest longings and fears, more whether you have bad knees, a bony bum, sensitive skin or a sweaty Betty. Cafe’s offering those lounge room couches are so good for sinking in with a book and a filter, no good if you’re due for a knee replacement – that sofa has you captured till the firies come for their afternoon round of flatties. Wooden stools are simple and elegant, but BYO cushion if you don’t have enough padding of your own. And maybe eat a cake. Same goes with the metal ones, beautifully powder coated, but with the added function of reflecting the weather like Goldilocks’ porridge. And plastic, like my beloved candy dumpling chairs, are so great if you like slip and slides in the summer.

Chairs, like you and me, come in all different shapes and materials. Unlike you and me, they’re made to be sat on. But like you and me, they need to be properly understood for maximum appreciation. When you’re next sitting down at your favourite coffee shop, get to know your chair a little better, and see how by seating it’s intention for the day, you are getting insight into yourself. 

Actually think about this: your bottom has fulfilled a destiny today. 

That’s a nice thought.