>As I walked home from the library this afternoon, I passed a trash heap at the curb. This is a common sight in Manhattan, where we don't have alleys. The afternoon/evening before garbage pickup is scheduled, all of the buildings heave out ginormous black bags of trash, containing the waste of hundreds of denizens. It's smelly, but oddly fascinating, now that I'm thinking about it.

Anyway, on the trash heap was a beautiful entertainment center. It was a blond wood, and solid. None of the Ikea shit that's usually chucked aside with gaping holes punched through the cardboard "wood." The cabinet had a glass door and three shelves. The TV space was small, but the overall height of the unit was not so tall that a person couldn't just plop her husband's stupid flat panel TV on top and it would require straining one's neck to view, like sitting in the first row at a movie theater. It also had a functional drawer. I loved it.

As I checked the piece for defects (i.e. - bugs), a woman approached the trash. She scavenged a wood tray, then hovered. "You gonna take that?" she finally asked me.

"Yeah, I think so. I just need to call my husband to help me because it is way too heavy to carry alone."

"It's a nice piece," she marveled. "You got lucky. If you don't take it, I'll come back later and fetch it. I live in this building."

I waited 30 minutes with my new furniture, debating the entire time whether or not I was insane. I just spent thousands of dollars renovating my apartment, and here I was giddy about a used piece of furniture that someone threw out. What the fuck is wrong with me?

Husband finally called me back. He had already returned the car to his parking garage, and had to be in our apartment for a conference call in 15 minutes. There was no way he'd make it, even if he ran down to inspect the piece and we stuffed it in an SUV cab. I wanted to cry. I seriously considered standing in the street with it until his call was over, but the digital clock on the bank down the street showed that the temperature was dropped a degree every five minutes, and I was already cold. Plus, it looked like it might rain. I reluctantly went home.

Farewell, my beautiful free street furniture. I hope you find a good home tonight.

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