“Why are they selling living- room furniture?” I thought as I headed to the paint department of one of those giant home-improvement tiendas. I was hoping to find five-dollar cans of discount colors people return when they had second thoughts about their taste in pintura.
After spending mucho dinero to replace a consumptive central-air unit, an incontinent water heater, and a suicidal washing machine. I had the renovation budget of a homeless, Bushman/Amish person. I brainwashed myself to love colors like Mayan Bloodletting Scarlet, Croatian Heliotrope, and Vermilion Puce Parade; even my plants should be named Lazarus, having been rescued from the back rows of nurseries where plantas, marked 70 percent off, are sent to die.
I thought all the painting, wallpapering, mowing, hoeing, weeding, and other chingadera were done.
Pues mira que nó.
I stuck a hand in my pocket, inventoried the loose change (the last of my home-improvement funds), and took mental note of what my backyard was crying out for: A muscular sofa and sillas encased in a thick, rhinoceros hide; all of it done up in a design of deep-green jungle vines. The furniture was escorted by outdoor lamps made over into electrified Palm Tree Drag Queens.
At least they were kind enough to offer me several choices in the outdoor fireplace I didn’t know I needed.
Somehow, I understood the logic of an outdoor fireplace. I could use it as an air conditioner since the temperature at its blazing core would still be cooler than the scorching air of a South Texas summer.
My backyard, in its humiliating, furniture-less nakedness, was an eyesore not fit for human habitation or for even the marauding, hippo-sized raccoons that delight in sorting through my trash cans like rabid paparazzo looking for Paris Hilton’s designer calzones.
Now, I needed an outdoor living room but resisted the urge to get one.
Trying to run away, I collided with a huge gazebo, a dry-docked “African Queen” dripping with gauzy mosquito netting. All it needed was Katherine Hepburn draped languidly on the outdoor coffee table shading her eyes from the burning, tropical glare of the store’s fluorescent lights.
So now I also needed a gazebo, or I was just another pinche pendejo with a bare-assed backyard.
Just when Global Warming gets its identity papers from the government and the media, we are suddenly made to feel like we must have outdoor furniture so we can stretch out on it and watch the melting take place.
What the hell — I will open up a line of credit and buy the Yanomamo designer chaise lounge that will never be threatened by the slash-and-burn industrial cabrones currently raping the Amazon.
I will hang outdoor wall art depicting a waterfall made out of waterproof acrylic paint.
I will admire the grass-like pastels of the synthetic throw rug smothering the real thing with its polyester magnificence.
Sí amigos, I will sip a margarita made with ice from the last of the glaciers. I will watch the last of the humming birds dip into the first of my plastic flowers.
On my faux bamboo sofa with throw pillows of fur from the last of the polar bears, I will be the first on my block to have the last word in nature: my wind-resistant, water-repellant, completely weatherproof … Solar Sala.
Mario is the author of The Chalupa Rules: A Latino Guide to Gringolandia.