I experienced a first recently. I actually rummaged through someone else’s garbage on the sidewalk! I couldn’t help myself. Someone had set out an antique wood mirror and I love old things. I felt a little funny when I first noticed it and pulled it from the trash, so that I could get a better look. Especially since garbage is set out RIGHT smack-dab in front of people’s homes.
Except for one spot that would need some work, the mirror was in great condition. And the shape; I loved the shape with its unusual arched top. I could definitely see this mirror hanging in the entry of the civil war-era home we are renovating. Possibly painted green or blue (oh how I love green and blue in their various shades) or even a bright yellow or red. It would just pop against fresh white walls. But alas, I was out for a walk and my reasoned self convinced me that I really didn’t need yet another project. So I set the mirror down among the trash again and on I walked.
Yet as I walked, I wrested with whether I had made the right decision. Surely I had. We are in a small apartment, with hardly any storage, where we already had furniture stowed in strange places. Places like the a corner in our bedroom and in the hallway beside the bathroom, even behind our girls’ bed. In what odd nook would the mirror find itself? But it was solid and beautiful and unusual and I could always set it out with our trash the following week if I changed my mind. That was it, I had to have it.
So I turned back and hurried because I had seen trash trucks and workers out already and hoped with all my heart that it hadn’t already been picked up. It’s funny how a decision can alter your behavior so much. As I approached the street it was on I could see a trash truck right about where the mirror had been left. I broke out into a sprint, my heart beating wildly, feeling a little ridiculous as I dashed madly toward the trash collectors gathering up the week’s garbage.
I just got there, mind racing, as the collectors gathered THE garbage, including the now precious mirror. I frantically motioned to one of the collectors who, seeing me, mistakenly grabbed the mirror and headed toward the trash truck with it. I froze. I couldn’t believe what was happening! He thought I was telling him to toss it. Finally, gathering myself, I yelled windily, “No, please, no! I actually WANT that mirror!”
Thankfully, he heard me RIGHT before he chucked it into the truck and instead headed over to me with the mirror. “People throw all kinds of nice things away. Expensive bags and purses. Even nice furniture,” he said in a friendly tone, as he handed it to me. “I would believe that!” I said, looking around, thankful to have the mirror in hand. “Thanks so much!” I smiled, unable to believe how close I had come to losing it.
As the truck pulled away, I began the several-block trek home with my mirror. It had been a quick trot to that spot from our apartment minutes before, so I hadn’t realized how challenging it was going to be to carry a solid wood mirror back home. Yikes. A block in and my arms were burning and my shoulders ached.
But back home the mirror and I made it. Although, not without the comments of a couple passerby and some serious muscle-building, on my part. I know I looked something ridiculous ever shifting the weight, setting it down completely to rest at times, trying my darndest to lug that mirror home. But it’s home and it’s tucked in a nook in our current dining room waiting to be refinished and hung in all its shining glory once we are in our NEW HOME! Which hopefully will be sometime soon.
One man’s garbage, is another man’s…
Ahem, with no further ado…
MY new-to-me mirror…
(Not to worry. The glass is perfectly clear in person, unlike my photography skills. I felt this picture captured the frame the best. Which I love. Ahhh… I do think it will be worth the effort.)