On my way to and from my home, I pass something peculiar that I have never seen before. It’s a pair of stuffed jeans placed on a step ladder on the edge of a driveway. The ladder is not near anything, there’s not anything near it to reach up to. The jeans are stuffed to look lifelike but there’s no upper torso. It’s an arse on a ladder.
At first I thought it was a serendipitous placement of refuse and the weekly visit of the sanitation truck would be the end of it, but weeks went by and still it remained. It’s not like the winter wind blew the items like that. The legs are stuffed into the boots and they are securely fastened to the step ladder. This is a deliberate arrangement.
It’s a butt, a butt going up but nonetheless not one of the most revered parts of the body. Usually if you are only selecting one part, the ass isn’t top choice. Is it finished? Or is it a work in progress? When I drive by it, I slow down to search for any clues about what it means. On closer inspection, I noticed that the rubber boots are floral. I always roll on by with more questions than answers. Is this a political statement? Why doesn’t someone want those cute wellies? Is this definitive proof that Pinterest jumped the shark?
What’s even stranger is that this isn’t the only out of place ladder that I have come across lately. In the catalog of the store named after a ceramic farm building is two other ladders. One is white, well-worn and splattered with paint. You would think it would be in a photo selling paints, but it isn’t. It’s carefully placed against a wall by a window in a beautifully furnished room complete with fresh flowers on the coffee table. There are no rollers, paint cans or drop cloths or anything to lead one to believe the room’s a work in progress.
The only explanation is that the rickety ladder adds a certain panache to the room that a ladderless room could not otherwise achieve. I’m not convinced. Surely this room is not designed for anyone superstitious or anyone with children. I’m even going to hazard a guess that no one with friends who like to tip a few back would welcome this “attractive nuisance” in their humble home. Is it a subliminal message from the company that you are never fully done decorating? I just don’t get it.
A few pages later in the same catalog there’s another ladder. This one is sadly not as rustic, but it’s for sale. It’s a decorative ladder, I think, because the heaviest thing on it is a scarf. The rungs don’t seem too spacious either so a black wire basket is attached to the bottom to lend it more functionality. Neither the basket nor the ladder look like they required expert craftsmanship, but I suppose $263.00 is a small price to pay to be part of the ladder trend.
I think the ladders are part of a larger trend that has befuddled me for some time. People want to look like they live in a workshop, a factory of sorts. Reclaimed, recycled, reused. Old barn doors are haute couture. Warped oars on a wall are avant-garde. Shelves that look like plumbing pipes can fetch a handsome price. Expensive plush chairs are armed with working rusty little wheels that can amputate toes. Lighting of the same variety found in a warehouse are proudly peddled for exorbitant sums.
I just don’t get it. The same people who purchase these things would scoff at my neighbor’s ladder arrangement, but I think the arse on the ladder might just be the message the decorating world needs.