Crappy Stuff I Keep Picking Up Off of the Street

I read somewhere that when elephants come upon the bones of another elephant they investigate the bones and may even carry them with them, some times for miles.

I know how they feel, because I do the same thing…with crap I find on the street. I am constantly on the hunt for “good bones,” which is fancy interior design site speak for furniture that is sturdy or well made or looks like crap now but could be REALLY AMAZING IN HOUNDSTOOTH!

Whenever I see a piece of furniture or other houseware sitting on the street I am drawn to it. Like the elephants, I might even carry it with me for a while before deciding to jettison it in some new location, or (Gasp. Bedbugs?) bring it inside. When circumstances prevent me from picking it up—I’ve got a business meeting, I am going to a play in a very small black box theater, I am already carrying something else I found—I mourn its loss. I worry that someone else won’t find it, that it will just become trash, that its life will end. I once carried a beat-up kitchen stool with me for nine blocks before realizing that I already had enough beat-up kitchen stools.

This is the clever conundrum of living in New York—the amount of usable stuff on the curb is inversely proportional to the amount of room you currently have in your apartment. But things do make their way in. In no particular order, here are some things I found on the street that are in my apartment right now:

Dish drainer
Wall mounted file holder
Folding table
50s compression pole lamp
Two paintings (I carried them home on the subway! In a snowstorm!)

Don’t worry, there’s been much more in the past but the fancy interior design websites have told me that I have to “edit.”

Last night, I came home and there was a bedside table lamp sitting in the middle of the living room. My husband, let’s call him Babar, had been looking for one like this for his side of the bed—bendable neck, focused light—and there it was. It wasn’t in a bag or anything, so I asked where he got it.

Babar: “It was in the lobby of our building. I almost didn’t take it, but then I went back.”

Me: “Why didn’t you take it immediately?”

Babar: “I was worried you’d think I was just bringing more junk into the house.”

Clearly Babar needs to read this post.

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