A picnic table makes the picnic great. It provides the surface for our goods, our food, and ourselves. It cradles the birthday cake, it holds the napkins, and it provides us with a place to rest bodies weary from playing. The table must be built with care and quality, lest it fail us and ruin the mood of the picnic, sometimes killing it altogether. Yet, rather than pay homage and respect to the table, we cover it. We don’t look at the table and thank it for lending a hand – appreciate it for being just the right height to help us. We only see it as wood; dirty wood, at that. Bulk-processed, machine made plastic sheets in bright offending colors purchased at discount prices must cloak and suffocate the table. It wants to enjoy the day with us, but we only serve to hide the table and still utilize it, molesting the table of its purpose while selfishly blaming aesthetics.
We do this under the guise of protecting the table. Our slippery fingers and young children’s ham-hands can wreak havoc on a table’s surface, we tell ourselves – why should we subject it to the stray drips of ketchup and greasy, ashen spatulas? What self-respecting table wants to look new at an old age, though? Shouldn’t an old table look stained? Weary? Life-worn and happy? Can’t we clean the table and care for it without showing our shame for it?