…life on the synaptic firing range

Location: Los Angeles, United States

Bent but unbroken Southern California native seeks understanding, companionship, and resonance along and off the beaten path. Teresa plays well with others and makes every effort to perform to her potential. Usually. *processed in a facility that processes nuts and nut products

Saturday, February 04, 2006

dumped update update

Omigod, someone stole our pile of crap! Or, more likely, "large dead animal pickup" finally followed through on our month-old report of illegal dumping. At any rate, I came home from work Friday night to find the mess gone—poof!—like a pile of money on a windy Las Vegas day.

This was a couple of days after the couch, which served as the foundation of an unneighborly heap of trash on the fringes of our property, appeared to have been hit by a car: It had been pushed 15 feet or so up the block and abraded on one end severely enough that its cheap prefab foam core was bleeding out. For so long it had been stuck at merely ugly, and in one traumatic impact it had hurtled past hideous and arrived at tragic.

If my use of the word "tragic" seems to connote some feeling of wistfulness or loss, don't get me wrong—I'm delighted it's gone. Still, once upon a time, perhaps several owners ago, that couch was new. Its first people may even have considered its purchase a splurge, a brand-new sofa to replace the unforgiving futon they had been using as a "couch" since college.

I remember when my partner and I bought our first couch—and, years later, when it took on the sad status of trash. Before we moved in together I lived in a studio apartment with a kitchen nook so small my refrigerator invaded my living area and a bathroom with a doorway narrow enough that most folks had to turn sideways to enter. God, I loved that apartment, all 400 or so square feet of it, probably because it was the first place I ever had to myself, post–bondage daddy roommate and all. Needless to say, the cramped space didn't admit a couch—the only obvious place to sit was on my bed, which helped with the ladies. *wink*

My partner, indeed, brought to our new living arrangement a futon-couch, which we decided to replace immediately. We haunted the Ikea "as-is" department until an inoffensive khaki-denim-covered unit came through, a customer return that was marked down from $900 to $600. It served us well for a respectable stretch; after seven years in our first shared apartment it made the move with us to our first house. When it started to look shabby we camouflaged it with throws, then a slipcover, then, when I tired of forever adjusting the slipcover—which never fit right even though I heeded the advice of "Real Simple" to tuck the seams deep into the couch's contours with a wooden spoon—we decided to treat ourselves to a new sofa, a hot little number we'd been courting at Plummers. Whereas the Ikea couch said "recent grads," the Plummers couch implied that we were now adults who valued style and function in equal measure. It said "homeowners," a title we were still trying to convince ourselves we deserved.

The day our new sofa was delivered we moved the Ikea couch to the garage and called our favorite thrift shop, a queer-run outfit called Out of the Closet that benefits AIDS causes. When the truck came the driver shook his head at the couch. "Nah," he said. "Couches take up a lot of space in the stores, so we have to be pretty picky about the ones we accept." I understood his reasoning, but that didn't lessen the sting of a thrift store rejecting furniture that until just the week before my partner and I had found perfectly serviceable and not aesthetically out of place in our living room.

We moved the Ikea couch to the edge of our driveway and propped upon it a large cardboard sign with a smiley face and the word "FREE" in giant letters. We live on a fairly busy thoroughfare and had in this way dispensed with many unwanted items, ugly, broken things that seemed utterly spent—but after just a few hours at the curb they could be seen bobbing down the avenue in the arms of their new owners. The couch was too heavy to be carried away, but plenty of people zoomed past our house in pickups that would accommodate it for a short move.

The sun set, the couch sat, and it remained undisturbed for several days before we threw up our hands and called large dead animal pickup. We'd have to pay for this call since the reason was "oversize pickup," not illegal dumping. Yeah, sure, we could have lied, but that stuff has a way of coming back on you. Kinda like when I was a kid and faked sick so that I wouldn't have to go to school on a day when I was supposed to give an oral report, then I'd actually become physically—or, more likely, psychologically—ill, as if to teach me a lesson. If we call in an illegal dump to avoid the oversize-pickup charge, what's to stop the pestilence of honest-to-god dumped couches from descending on our property?


Blogger treecup said...

We still have our $500 Ikea couch, and the advent of our parenthood would seem to indicate that anything better is not likely anytime soon. On a positive note, the selfsame advent of parenthood means that for the first time since Joel and I have been together we may actually get a tax return this year instead of a tax bill. If it weren't for the fact that parenthood precedes messy toddlerdom, I'd suggest we spend it at Plummers.

10:26 AM  
Blogger sporksforall said...

Scout left out a period between the attempt at giving it away and the paid for pick up where it was in the garage and Red slept on it. When we paid to have it taken away, I felt like a total asshole, as the poor old guy was back to dog beds on the ground.

11:12 AM  
Blogger scout said...

Sandra's $500 couch isn't all that old and probably would be accepted by Out of the Closet.

Lest anyone think we had an old-timey hobo living in our garage, Red was indeed a dog.

11:34 AM  
Blogger Slangred said...

That's sad. I mean about the couch being rejected by a thrift store. Somehow it reminds me of the time a cab driver in NYC pulled over upon being hailed by my companion. We told him where we were going; he paused for about 10 seconds, and said "No." Then drove away.

12:50 PM  
Blogger bryduck said...

Or how about the time I had a really cool (and expensive) new couch and loveseat combo given to me, only to have my then-wife (who was the Prince of Darkness, after all) tell me she hated it, force me to give the love seat to her sister, and then have it not fit it into my mom's place after I wised up and left Satan. I placed it on the curb to prepare for its pickup the next day, but before Goodwill could even arrive, someone had taken it--without its cushions, mind you. I loved that couch . . .

2:01 PM  

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