Curbside Bazaar

I’m at the Whetstone library picking up and returning books for all three of us, and Susie has (thankfully) recovered from her brief disappointment at not getting a new worktable.

While I was out delivering The Bag last night/this morning (I refused to start until after dusk ’cause it was so hot and humid), I saw the unsold items of a yard sale on E. Weber Rd.  There were two boxes full of VHS tapes–mostly martial arts films, and some drive-in rejects like Hero of Shaolin–a monochrome computer monitor from circa 1984, when the IBM Personal Computer debuted, and a big worktable.  The beautiful word FREE! fluttered from signs Scotch-taped to them.

Susie has been yearning for a worktable to do her collages, etc.  There is one in the sewing room, but she and Steph can’t seem to peacefully coexist where it is concerned.  (The "worktable" is a door I salvaged from the basement when we moved in, and, with the landlord’s permission, I removed the doorknob and hinges and we put it on stacks of milk crates.)  Each has to clear off the other’s projects to do any of their own work, so a worktable of her own has headed Susie’s want list for awhile.

Late this morning, I went over to see if the table was still there, and lo and behold, it was.  I stopped in at the Weber Market and asked if I could borrow a dolly.  When I got back to Weber Rd. and the table, I upended the table to put it on the two-wheeler.  It tilted back toward a normal position, and then I heard this horrendous crack sound, like breaking a piece of rotted wood for the fireplace.  My worst fears were realized when the table collapsed as one of the legs splintered.

I’ve had much better luck at curbside.  When we lived in Franklinton, an auto parts store was throwing away a perfectly good desk.  Steph was in need of one, so, once the owner said I was free to take it, I borrowed another dolly from another convenience store and wheeled it into our house.  (It eventually ended up in my second-floor office when we moved again, and we left it behind, since it barely made it into the room.  It’s a ship-in-a-bottle type of thing.)

Clifton, the neighborhood near the University of Cincinnati where I lived in the early and mid-1990s, was wonderful for curbside treasures, much of it in perfectly good shape.  I had the foresight to move to that neighborhood just as the academic year at U.C. was ending, and the selection of discarded furniture was Value Cityesque.  Many impatient kids were moving out of apartments and didn’t want to rent U-Hauls to bring home furniture, so perfectly good furniture was left abandoned at curbside along with the garbage bags.  I furnished my apartment in a style I called "Late 20th Century Clifton Castoff."

And it wasn’t limited to furniture.  I remember stepping out of my building on my way to work one evening and almost tripping over a Yorx boom box–AM/FM radio, CD, and cassette deck–that was left in the front entrance, like a foundling.  It conked out after about six months, but it got plenty of mileage in the meantime.


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