Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Apartment Life: Objets trouvés—et rejetés

One of the many advantages of life in a great city is the serendipitous discovery of castoff items that you can use in your own apartment. Many semi-impoverished newcomers have furnished their places with items found at curbside. But even those of us who are comfortably ensconced in our already well-furnished flats can find some mini-treasures in the rubbish closets on each floor of modern apartment houses. Or sometimes in the basement on the way to the laundry room. (And yay! We recently got new machines and dryers. About time.)
Some of my finds have been both amusing and, at times, even useful. For example: a 1933 Shorter Oxford English Dictionary in two volumes, edited by the redoubtable C.T. Onions; baskets of various shapes and sizes, useful as plant cachepots and magazine holder; set of Pyrex bowls that some innocent bachelor had no idea how to use—guess he doesn't have a microwave; many florists' vases, though not lately—guess no one has been receiving flowers; empty boxes and bubble wrap—always fun to pop.
My castoffs have included items both useful and dangerous: a toaster and a lamp, both of which have caused blown fuses—I attached warning notes; a set of brand new and ridiculously expensive ink-jet printer cartridges—my new model printer uses a different size, and I hoped someone could use these; shower curtain with accidental splashes of red nail polish; worn-out Capezio ballet slippers; a still usable, but ancient, Hoover vacuum cleaner—got a new Electrolux!
Some years back, I committed my most idiotic throwaway. I had a tattered briefcase full of unbelievably pretentious college English papers, and I tossed the whole thing. What I had forgotten was that the case also contained my college diploma, in Latin and on lovely parchment-like paper. I can order a new copy for a price, but will it still be in Latin? It's still on record that I graduated, though.
Ave atque vale, diploma.

1 comment:

Jonathan said...

Somebody picked up that case and put your diploma on the wall in their apartment! We used to furnish our placess downtown like that ll the time.

Did you ever get your mug from the Times?