There are some things you learn through your not-so-well-monologued wonder years that you don’t realize the implications until they punch you in the neck.
Today, I experienced what one may call a “knuckle-sandwich to the nape”.
I remember being maybe 11 years old—i.e., young enough when one hour feels like 3 episodes of Night Court and old enough to smell the onset of unavoidable-parental-induced humiliation.
We were driving in our well-loved Dodge caravan (was there any other? We once stuffed 17 kids into that baby blue convoy); it was my mother (aka “joj”) and the three of us girls heading home from either a sport event or ice cream…we rarely strayed from what we already confirmed was unequivocal goodness. And she spotted it! An entire 7-piece dining room set, impeccably staged in the tree lawn no more than 10 houses down from our own. She slowed down, inching her way to a complete halt as each of us girls unblinkingly stared straight ahead, knowing just what joj was thinking. “Out.” She says. “Each of you grab a chair, we’re taking this thing home!” She was so excited. We were so humiliated.
Walking the sidewalk as a pirate’s stilted plank, each step spitefully brimming with chagrin, the three of us girls grabbed a wooden chair and warily teetered the ten houses back to our home. We each walked this plank of degradation twice. Yes. Twice. And that night, we sat at our “new” kitchen table; thankful it was over and thankful that the experience was left in my callow.
So we’re here. 2009. A year full of politics and the effervescent mortality of Hollywood. My slice and I were driving back to the house after running errands in preparation for our much anticipated move….and what do we see just three doors down the road? Why yes, yes it was a set of vintage avocado green pleather dining chairs just perfect for our fantastic pedestal table. We walked to the neighbors, engaged in some hearty dialogue and peppered in the request to capitalize on the thing of beauty sitting idly on their tree lawn. Golden! Mark and I each cradled a chair and began the short journey back to the house. It is at this point, when armed with such banqueted delight that I recognized that while some call it “trash picking”…others might see it merely as “atypical design”.