Monday, September 29, 2014

Space Killers


Photo courtesy Flickr

Last week, in a moment of minor desperation, I set a florid little piece of furniture on the “alley beach”, where the twice-daily pedestrian tide giveth and taketh away. I could have sold the thing, but it would have cost more time to vend than I would have made from the transaction. Moments like this have given me an appreciation of the practical aspects of charity, best managed as an anonymous behavior.

An embittered transient posted a For Rent sign on a local doorway advertising thirty square feet of space for twelve hundred dollars a month. The joke was not far from the local truth. Even generous, affordable quarters benefit from rigorous editing.

Also last week, I strolled past a sofa left to its fate on an inconspicuous corner of a crowded block. The lines of the piece were tempting, though far from practical. A moment’s consideration reminded me of the bed bugs that are challenging contemporary housekeepers. It also reminded me to consider disposal as part of the process of acquisition.

Furniture is a passive appliance. It’s hard predict how an unfamiliar design will perform in a given situation. Often, putting something to use reveals hidden qualities, like the value of the elegant little railings around the lower shelves of a tea table. No matter how close the quarters, a cup will stay secure.

Even a well-functioning collection of portable furnishings can be sabotaged by the clutter that devours time and attention. The cost of clutter can only be appreciated when it’s gone, a point worth taking on faith. When I learned of the bed bug menace, I looked around my spare interior and realized that under the best of circumstances, coping with pests would devour personal resources. Adding avoidable hiding places like layered stacks of paper would make remediation that much harder.

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