I must have been overtaken by the beauty of San Diego.
I failed to consider the ramifications of moving into a completely unfurnished apartment—the first time in my life I’ve ever done so. I don’t know if I was expecting my fairy godmother to wave her magic wand and make furniture appear in my living room and dishes appear in my cupboards, but by the time reality hit me, it was too late; I’d already signed my lease.
I opened my wallet and thoughtfully fingered the few bills contained therein. How could I stretch this AND furnish my apartment? Would it be more cost-effective for me to eat out every night and sleep in motel rooms than to buy a bed and dishes AND food? AND pay rent? I didn’t think so, but looking at the cost of consumer goods, I was less than positive about that.
Wandering around in a daze, I stumbled through the open doors of my chariot and found a seat next to an old man with a pock-marked face and wild gray hair. Oh yes, my chariot equaled the City Bus, which meant my fairy godmother must equal… NOT the man I was sitting next to, but the people holding garage sales that weekend!
Fortunately for me, San Diego seems to be a year-round paradise for garage sales. The snow and the cold don’t reach this far south, so people do spring-cleaning every weekend. I was hopeful that by the end of the day, my new place would have a little more character than bare echoing white walls. But more than character, I was looking for functionality.
Have you ever realized how limited your food options are when you don’t own any dishes? I wanted to bake lasagna, but I didn’t have a 9 x 13 pan. I wanted to make pasties, but I didn’t have a cookie sheet or a rolling pin. I wanted to make eggs, but I didn’t have a frying pan. I didn’t have plates, bowls, cups, or silverware, either. So I wanted some kitchen stuff, for starters, so I could at least eat.
I was also looking for a couch and/or a bed, and maybe a chair or two. A kitchen table would have been nice, as well. Ahhh, comfort! I was looking forward to being able to relax in my new home. But even if I found a deal that was too good to pass up, I couldn’t see myself wedging any sort of furniture on the bus to take back with me. I started picturing myself going Asian-style, with cushions on the floor for chairs and a nice straw mat for sleeping on. Who needs comfort, anyway? Maybe it would help prepare me for the Peace Corps…
Having found two mis-matching plates, a butter knife, measuring cups, a peeler, two matching towels, a sheet, a comforter, two stools, two blank canvases and an easel, I figured my day was pretty much over.
I would have liked to find a few more things, but I was running out of room, and probably out of luck as well. Then, wouldn’t you know, I stumbled upon a matching couch and chair set in someone’s driveway! I figured there was no way they would be in my price range, even at a garage sale (you’d be surprised what some people want for their stuff).
While I spoke to the owners, I sat down on the couch and found, to my surprise, that it was very comfortable. I almost didn’t want to get up, and that didn’t have everything to do with the fact that I’d been on my feet all day. We came to an agreeable price, as I sat there, but I still wasn’t ready to commit. I hemmed and hawed, fiddling with my wallet and bouncing on the comfy cushions, while the owners waited to see if I would take the furniture off their hands. When they offered to deliver the couch and chair to my house, I was sold!
I decided that, while I have the luxuries of living in the United States, I may as well take advantage. The discomforts and hardships of life in the Peace Corps can wait until I actually leave the country. Who passes up free delivery?
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