Taupe, ecru, tawny? No, brown! - R.H. Joseph

Once again mired in the re-decorating blues (Is He testing me?), I am at wit's end, rendered stark raving mad by the myriad choices available to one lucky (or unlucky) enough to be born in The Land of Plenty.

Mine is a simple life, brothers and sisters. I wear jeans, white athletic socks and either sneakers or motorcycle boots.

So when I'm getting dressed I reach into the sock drawer and pull out two; they'll always match. Then I'll grab the top pair of pants. (Why one is called a pair is a philosophical question worthy of contemplation but beyond the scope of this column.) No decisions necessary.

Imagine the assault on my serenity, therefore, when, upon entering a specialty store dedicated to stimulating desires of a rather flamboyant nature, I was accosted first by Sebastian and then Bruce.

Denizens of the exclusive demimonde of the upscale interior decorator, the lads were anxious to entice me into their garden of earthly delights, gleefully tantalizing me with hitherto undiscovered sensual pleasures. Oh, how eager they were to seduce with those colorful accouterments appropriate to the sybaritic lifestyle toward which I hurtle headlong.

A na?f among the immoderate, imagine the intoxication of a white-sink-kind-o'-guy surrounded for the first time by bathroom basins of every shape, color and constitution. My head was spinning. I was ripe for exploitation.

"Touch this," cooed Sebastian. "Run your hand across it slowly," coaxed Bruce.

The sense of risk inherent in this walk on the wild side aroused me; I was encouraged, emboldened to explore new avenues.

Baby, somewhat surprised at my readiness to explore the imaginations of Sebastian and Bruce in unfamiliar bathrooms, succumbed to the emotion of the moment and before you know it we were looking at cobalt-blue glass sinks accompanied by antique handles and a faucet that appear miraculously from the wall (whose covering and color are yet to be determined – we'll have to see Audrey about this).

"We'll build the room around the tub," someone said. ("Do people really talk like that?" I asked myself silently.) "What have you got in mind?" they demanded.

I always figured tubs are like socks. They're white and they either have a shower or they don't. This oughta be easy.

Apparently I don't get out enough.

Some of these contraptions offer more options than The Amazing Veg-O-Matic. Of these, the most appalling for one who considers the act of showering a sanctified, introspective and immensely pleasurable experience is the shower stall that includes a television, CD player (or radio, or both, I can't remember) and six speakers, in addition to 56,000 shower heads (give or take).

Sebastian and Bruce didn't waste my time with that one. Men of refined sensibilities, like me they evidently appreciate the hedonistic liberation awaiting one attuned to the subtle, intimate pleasures afforded by this simple ceramic structure.

After selecting a sink and tub one must choose a toilet. (Can you say toilet in a family newspaper?) Again, who knew?

Among the tens of thousands of choices there is at least one whose operations are controlled electronically. Adjacent to the throne (as it were) is a keypad full of buttons, lights and (I hope) instructions.

I remember the days when you didn't require instructions to – How shall I say this? – attend to the great recycling project that is life.

So much for the things. We still had to pick out stuff.

For example, you'd think nothing could be simpler than a towel rack. Think again, Bubba. A thousand different styles, a thousand different finishes, a thousand different doodads.

Every time I'd point to one to find out whether I liked it or not Baby would illustrate precisely how some infinitesimal widget didn't go with some otherwise insignificant aspect of a different piece in our assemblage.

You unmated types need to appreciate that in the great scheme of things the national debt, SARS and Princess Di all rank significantly below an object's "go-with" factor. If object A doesn't go with object B it's as though there's a rip in the fabric of space/time (or some such).

Frankly, though Sebastian and Bruce side with Baby on this one, two or three hours of such nonsense was like a wake up call, a slap in the face. (I've always wanted to use these depressingly trite expressions. If you pity me for having succumbed, may I suggest holding a candlelight vigil.)

But I digress.

There's still floor and wall coverings, as well as fixtures to be determined. Stay tuned.

P.S. I think I'll go with wainscoting; it's a biker thing.

R.H. Joseph is a longtime employee of the News Daily. He may be reached at (770) 478-5753, ext. 252, or by e-mail at rjoseph@news-daily.com.