Cathy spoke to her brother the self-righteous freegan about Crate & Barrel and Pottery Farm (Barn. " Like I care."), and when she talked about these things, what she meant to say to her brother was that her marriage was a tightrope between fulfillment and parenting, and that her fear of buying a new couch and her desperation for a new couch were about her fear of change and her desperation for change, and that in her own way she was rejecting the material world, too, by pretending that it mattered:
"Ultimately you decided to stick with the one you already had, because it was a safe neutral, with a few good years still left in it."
Cathy was telling the truth; she was telling her brother the secrets of her life, and he couldn't hear her, because she's a little old German man -- and he is him. His asceticism hides a dark and brightly glittering pride, and this is one of the things they have in common. If they spoke the same language, Cathy could explain to her brother that she knows this and that in fact she is being honest with him, always telling him the secrets of her life, but he loves the idea of digging deeper and being better and hearing more subtly, and so he doesn't hear her at all: "That doesn't mean I'm not happy."
"Oh, good. Then you are just really fucking boring."
Ultimately Cathy decided to stick with the one she already had, because it was a safe neutral, with a few good years still left in it. Ultimately the couch was ruined by her husband Paul bouncing ("Not bouncing, Riverdancing") around on the cushions with a glass of fruit punch. At dinner with Cathy, Paul just wants safe routines, old interactions -- "Maybe you get the pasta, I get the chicken, we split?" -- but Cathy's thinking about the couch. Specifically how she can drag the feelings and the fears about the couch out into the yard and look at them in the sun on the first day of summer in Minneapolis without it just being a couch anymore, but all the words still sound like objects, not what they really are.