At base, the decision to have white carpet is one of style over substance. White carpet is a commitment, a vow of eternal care, no matter what. No cocktail party can occur without the hostess (unless it is a man with Opinions on carpet more elaborate than “Do I have to vacuum more than twice a year?”) (Yes, this is a sexist statement. I’m sure that many very fine and manly men love the experience of shopping for carpet and comparing the color with the couch and the drapes and the paint. I am getting a headache just thinking about it.) (My opinion on carpet is: why? Harwood floor is much nicer and easier to clean.) (I’ll stop with the parentheses now and get on with the sentence…) obsessing about who might spill red wine and whether she has enough club soda on hand for emergency treatment. Guests can sense this distraction. It makes them much more likely to spill than they would otherwise. White carpet is a decision against hospitality.
Its dangers do not stop there. In the very bosom of the family, the carpet lurks, happy to sow dissention. Shoes? You are wearing shoes? How dare you! As a child, I was forbidden to enter the white-carpeted dining room (what was she thinking?) or living room except on festival and state occasions. At those occasions, I also had to sit on a towel lest I mar the upholstery of the dining room chairs. I tried not to sit down in the living room, even though none of the upholstery there was white. It was clear that the white carpet was top dog, a fact resented by the actual dog, who took his revenge in his old age by using the corner behind the ficus as his personal bathroom. Subsequent dogs were not allowed in the house.
While my kids were young and she lived closer than she does now, I begged her not to buy a white sofa to put on her white living room carpet, just to preserve some remnant of my sanity. Now that my mom has no small children to live with or to stay for visits, she has acres of white carpet. She also has, thanks to a trip we took to Home Depot, a plastic runner for my dad to walk on in his den. I suppose walking on a plastic runner is a small price to pay for domestic harmony, but seriously, that’s crazy. I am waiting for the plastic covers for the sofa.
Down with oppression! Kill Whitey! (As long as he’s a carpet, anyway…)