mardi 29 décembre 2009

One person's encombrants is another person's --

The hideous ottoman, melting in the rain


Which is to say that the sofa and the dimestore, rock-bottom, price-slasher discount outlet compositional sofa and ottoman set that (dis)graced the petit salon did not leave the premises as foreseen, which is to say in the special garbage truck for discarded over-sized stuff. I missed that. It doesn't come in the evening, but at 8 am, or thereabouts. Yesterday evening, my neighbor rushed forward to offer his and his son's assistance in helping us get it all off the sidewalk and back into the house, which I politely declined.

No way was that stuff ever coming back into the house.

I told him my son would help me find a way to get it to the dump, forgetting that my husband's over-sized motorcycle (with reverse) was blocking the Voyager, which had broken down on the way to my inlaws' Christmas eve, and headed off to Paris to pick up a chair I had bought on eBay for 29 euros. That's when it occurred to me that my husband had the station wagon, since there was a bit of ice -- enough to make a motorcycle a poor idea -- Monday, when he left for the hospital. I had images of my son, furious, telling me that there was no way it was going to stay lashed to the Fiat Uno all the way to the dump, but what I didn't imagine was that I wasn't going to have to deal with it at all.

All except for the ottoman.

It was nearly 1 am when I heard noises coming from where I had dragged them, further back against the wall of the France Telecom utility building. Dared I hope? I called the dogs, attached Baccarat's leash and took them out to pee, and I surprised four young guys trying to figure out how to lift and carry a damp leather sofa in the drizzle. They all looked up at the same time.

"Bonsoir," I smiled, asking them what they were doing with the sofa and immediately wishing I hadn't said it that way; they might think I wanted to keep it. Nonsense, I corrected myself. They found it in the middle of the night in the rain, of course they aren't going to think that.

"Euh, on se disait qu'il ferait un bon trampoline." They were going to jump on it right there? In the rain in the middle of the night?

"Ah, ça oui. Allez y. Le plus de morceaux le mieux pour le charger dans la voiture et l'amener à la déchètrie." They looked at me, puzzled. That's when I realized that they weren't going to turn it into matchsticks jumping on it right there. No, they were carrying it somewhere to do that, or to use it. I hurried the dogs off to pee, afraid I'd say something even stupider in my embarrassment.

What is wrong with me? I find 4 guys carrying away my old furniture, and I get nervous?

Another came up as I was hurrying the dogs back through the still unfinished gate. He picked up a piece of the discount compositional sofa, leaving the other and the ottoman by our garbage cans, and they made their way up the street in the rain. I watched them, hoping they didn't need that furniture. Hoping they really only wanted to jump on it for the fun of it.

This morning, I went back out to check, afraid I'd find it all returned, a thousand bits of wood and leather and stuffing to load into the car and take to the dump, but all there was was the ottoman, tossed over the wall and sitting in the unfinished courtyard.

Let us hope the town caretaker wasn't aggravated with me for leaving it there.

The chair, has it happens, also has a destiny to fulfill. I pulled up in front of 238 rue Faubourg Saint Antoine at the appointed hour, and its owner brought it down for me. I was standing in the dark in front of the door when it opened, and there he was, the chair in hand. He set it down next to him and extended his hand, into which I attempted to place the 30 euros I had taken out of the machine on the way in. He laughed, and I turned crimson. He was offering his hand to shake. I took his, and missed his thumb. He laughed again, and I just wanted to sink into the sidewalk and disappear.

"La voilà, la chaise," he said. I smiled. I felt like he was introducing me to his dog, his dog that I was about to adopt.

"Je l'aime beaucoup," I said.

"Moi aussi."

"Bah alors, pourquoi vous vous séparez d'elle?" He smiled.

"Ma copine l'exige. On n'a pas beaucoup d'espace, alors elle a dit que je dois la vendre, et elle vend la sienne." I nodded.

"Sachez qu'elle sera très appréciée."

I started to leave, when he asked, "Vous êtes de quelle origine? Vous avez un accent."

"Je suis américaine, mais je suis française, aussi."

"Je suis norvégien." He said it as though this meant that we had something very important in common; the fact of being here, from somewhere else. He is also a composer of classical music, ballets and music for film, based on mythology, Khazak and other. He has Joseph Campbell on his bookshelves. His girlfriend is a writer.

I see, he said, the chair is in good hands. The chair, as I said, has a destiny to fulfill. We'll see where it goes next.

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