Gift on a Sidewalk

I¡¯m familiar with bargain hunt. Mom, sister, and Mi are all enthusiastic bargain hunters in their own ways–let it be e-bay, craigslist, flea market, or dollar stores. In theory, I complete endorse the thrill and the great ROI of a good deal. In practice, well, it is a different matter.

In late February, while I just started apartment hunting, I also flipped through all of my old Metropolitan Home magazines. In one of the issues I came across an award-winning apartment in SF. It was a 500 square feet one-bed room tiny space owned by a retail window designer. He proudly claimed that none of his furniture cost him over a hundred dollars. I picked up some interesting ideas from that article, such as using a tall Chinese flower stand as a nightstand. They are usually slim and classic looking. Another fact that made a strong impression on me was these two antique green chairs that most people assumed came as a pair. He actually picked them up from two different sidewalks. Only when you looked more carefully, would you distinguish their slightly different structures.

Able to see the diamond in the rough seems like a special enough talent to attract envy, from me, at least.

Our apartment on a hill was just about furnished completely, except for this square of space in the corner right next to the west facing windows and French door in the living room. I¡¯ve been debating whether to buy a coach or a recliner to fill it in. A sofa would be more comfortable but most of them would be too big for the space we have. We already got a recliner for the study so I¡¯m not sure we want to get another one.

Then we saw it, an innocent looking perfect square. It has clean lines, beige colored fabric, and comfy cushions. Low key, small, and elegant, instead of a sofa, it is actually the corner of a sectional sofa. The only problem, we spotted it on a sidewalk in Pac Height. It was clean looking, and seemed in good condition. It was Sunday afternoon, and we were on our way to watch Easter Parade on Union Street. Mi suggested we stuff the sofa in our car first before we head to the parade. I hesitated. Till now, I¡¯m still not sure why I hesitated. Was it because it took us so long to find the parking spot? Was it because I couldn¡¯t change my preset state of mind¡ªwhich we were here to see a parade, not to get home furnishing? Was it because I was afraid of looking silly at trying to stuff it in our car but couldn¡¯t? Or was it because I felt uncomfortable at picking up furniture from a sidewalk? Mi thought it was the latter and he started joking with me, ¡°how about I picked it up and ran, you could pretend you don¡¯t know me?¡±

To make a long story short, despite my hesitation and delay in decision-making, the little white sofa was meant for us. It was still there when we came back from the parade. And it fit perfectly in my Integra. I couldn¡¯t help giggling the whole way home, ecstatic. Upon close inspection at home, it was in excellent condition despite its couple of hardly noticeable light stains, and it fit perfectly into our little square of a space. A custom-made sofa wouldn¡¯t do any better.

It was truly a God-Sent.

Almost every of my friends expressed their disbelief that I waited till the end of the parade to take it home. They all said they would have just taken it first and foremost, even though neither of them had ever picked up other¡¯s people¡¯s discards on the sidewalk.

I remain a slight skeptical at their strong belief. For me, having tasted the delicious fruit of a ¡°bargain¡±, I¡¯m now eager to comb the streets of all the prestige districts of the city for diamond in the rough! 🙂