Shit Chair (and Other Stories)

Charlotte Noering
BFA TX 2024

All images by the author.

Today I tried to put together an Ikea chair. I got up and down, mixed and made, a double-sided chair. I lay on the floor and cried, my body curled, head down, wailing like a baby.

After a while I got up.

My nose was dripping, and my head ached, hot and swollen.

Looking over at my chair, lying on its side with its back facing me, it too seemed to be curled over, weeping.
It would have seemed funny to an observer, me and the chair, completing each other like a pair of shoes fit snugly in a shoe- box.

I laughed for a little while, picturing myself as a shoe wrapped delicately with tissue paper and tucked alongside the chair.

I imagined that if this chair and I were a pair of shoes perhaps we would be some sort of ugly hybrid, like a hiking sandal, an entity made from two contradictory ideas.

Grabbing the chair and holding it upright, I stared for a while, observing its change.

Its emotion now seemed to shift, and it looked as though it was enjoying a roller-coaster ride, legs splayed upward like arms grasping at the wind.

I quite liked this image.
I quite liked my chair.
Though maybe not so much a chair anymore. I took a battered
printer box and nestled it underneath, tied twine between the
rungs of its back, and wove them back into the box, securing it
all with a final knot and bow.
Now she stood upright, though slightly tilted, but definitely rather chair-ish.


Data Analysis of rate of Banana consumption
No. of Bananas at beginning of week:
No. of Bananas eaten in oatmeal:
No. Misc Bananas eaten:

I have a suspicion. Something feels off. I have been given bananas without my knowledge. As you can see by my data above, the number of “Misc Bananas” is equal to the total number of bananas at the beginning of the week. Yet I have also eaten two bananas in my oatmeal, so how is it that I have a banana surplus?
Clearly there has been a planned banana contamination. How was it done?

Mashed into my potatoes?
Whisked into my pancakes?
More importantly, why? Who has a motive?

I have interrogated my roommate about the banana count. She seems impassive stating, “I don’t know. I don’t even eat fruit. Why are you counting bananas anyway?” An intriguing answer; is her lack of interest a ploy to throw me off the scent? Is her distaste for fruit a part of a larger motive? What has happened between her and fruit in the past? In the meantime, another suspect must be interrogated, a figure I have long sensed lurking around the area.

Upon further reflection, I have concluded there is an error in my previous record. Banana bread. I have attached a corrected version of my study.

No. of Bananas at beginning of week:
No. of Bananas eaten in oatmeal:
No. Misc Bananas eaten:
No. of bananas not included in my weekly count eaten in banana bread:


My grandpa used to be a prolific storyteller of stories from his time in the war (I have no clue what war, he often claimed to be in wars he wasn’t alive for) and his travels. Although as he got older, and suffered from Alzheimer’s, he would begin to tell stories that were dreams he had. Some featured talking dolphins, heists of famous artworks, countries he’d never been to, and an old Polish song that kept magically coming on the radio (a device he did not have). These stories seemed to bend the genres of fiction and autobiography; while being false stories they were very much real to him and so made up his autobiography. While I’m not sure if these stories are works of fiction or not, I do feel like I found great value in his dreams of life. I would like to see what my own would look like as a story and what this story might say about my life.

(As a precursor to what follows, I don’t drink.)
OK, here are my dreams of life:

My brother and his friend Tobais or Tubsy had both planned to take surfing lessons early in the morning. Neither of them had ever surfed before or expressed interest in doing so. They needed to speak to the surf instructor in my room in order to go, but I was asleep and didn’t want them to come in. I was wrapped in bandages, including all over my face, and embarrassed of it, trying desperately to keep them out of my room while simultaneously continuing to sleep.

I cut my own hair with kitchen scissors, but I cut it too short and straight. I ended up having a bob and micro-bangs that looked like shit.

I was drunk driving in my car swerving through a four-way intersection unable to stop at all. I kept angling myself into the side of the road and skidding and continuing on forward without ever slowing down. I thought at any second the cops would pull me over, but they never did.

I was a boy helping a teacher stage a coup, but it was about showing kids music videos so I went on FaceTime with a headmaster to try and negotiate, but I was trying to protect my identity and the camera kept flipping back and showing my face. Then, I started talking to him about my skin and exfoliation routine.

Someone had DM’ed me and asked for me to make their wedding cake. I accepted and she provided the supplies for the cake. I had made the cake part and stacked it really high and then I started doing the icing but the color she gave me was like a Neapolitan ice cream of orange, brown, and white so it looked bad. I started doing the writing on the side of the cake, but I think I wrote “Happy Birthday.” I went to write the brand name of the cake, but the spacing was terrible and I wrote it all on a slope. I tried to reset the cake to fix the icing and writing, but when I did, the cake parts either folded or shrunk so I couldn’t remake it at all. My mom told me to rebuy the ingredients because the wedding was tomorrow, and they needed it. On my way there, I met the person whose wedding cake it was, and they said they’d come over later to show me inspirational photos so the wedding actually wasn’t tomorrow. Then she said that she just wanted a really easy cake.

It was my birthday, and I was given a pug puppy called Pork Chump. It was covered in fleas, so I had to wash it but it was really hard to tell what was the face and what was the butt.

I was drunk driving again.

I had a primary school reunion, but it was with people from my secondary school and the building was a huge office building with a swing. I was walking with Ben and Anna Burrell, but she wasn’t going; she was just going shopping with a friend because the school was in Piccadilly Circus. I never went to the reunion. Instead, I did the recycling.

Drunk driving one more time.


I wonder why nostalgia for childhood films and books has become so popular. I was recently rewatching Sky High with my roommate when I thought about how odd it was as an adult to watch films made for 14-year-olds. While I think nostalgia does play a role in the desire to watch these things, I thought about my parents and thought that when they were my age, they probably didn’t do this. I thought about books and films from my own childhood and remembered the book Pinkalicious, a book in which eating too many pink cupcakes can turn you pink as part of a scientifically proven disease called Pinkalicious. I remember telling my friend about this book enthusiastically and beginning to use “pinkalicious” as a part of my vocabulary. She told me that it was offensive to people with infectious diseases and to stop saying it. I felt so guilty about it and prayed to God for forgiveness. I remember so deeply as a child feeling guilt so strongly and praying to God for forgiveness for the stupidest reasons.

Things I’ve prayed to God for:

Forgiveness for hitting my brother
To not make me throw up
To not sell my childhood home
Forgiveness for not wanting to go to Church
Forgiveness for lying about feeding my brother candy
Forgiveness for yelling at my brother for trading my prayer book for a lame one
To help find my watch
To help my grandma quit smoking
To help find my watch again
To help my uncle in rehab
To take care of my uncle in heaven
Forgiveness for sneaking sweets
To help mail a letter (I just didn’t know how letters worked)
To get glasses for my doll for my birthday

As a child, I took communion classes with my brother. We would go over to an older lady from the church’s house and memorize our prayers. Sometimes, if we were good, she would let us have cookies or go on the trampoline, though honestly I don’t remember if she had a trampoline. Anyway, at some point during these classes she began to make us watch Jesus the movie; now upon reflection this movie seems rather absurd. Largely, because I was not yet old enough to realize that TV wasn’t real and that I was not in fact watching real life Jesus. As a kid the movie mesmerized me in part because I believed it was all real and I was seeing Jesus himself, but also due to the fact that it was framed as a drama and I wasn’t allowed to watch this much TV.

Charlotte Noering is confused and paranoid in public spaces.