Since Scott and I started the process of moving in together, we’ve generated something in the neighborhood of 25 bags of stuff that we no longer needed, wanted or had room for. A lot of it has been mine, as I’ve worked to make room for his stuff among the 42 years of accrued family stuff that can still be found in the corners and closets of the apartment. I love getting rid of stuff, as having more space on shelves and in closets is amazingly liberating. However, in the pasts one of the challenges I’ve encountered when getting rid of stuff is that once I’ve bagged it up, it takes me a long time to actually get it to the Salvation Army or Goodwill.
There’s a little Jewish charity shop across the street from my parking garage called the Ort Resale Shop. It’s been there for years and continues to remain, even though the rest of the block has started to improve slightly. It’s run by volunteers and raises money for Ort’s educational programs. They have fairly short hours, open from 10 am until 5 pm on weekdays, so in the past when I’ve worked, it’s been hard to take stuff to them. However, now that I’m working a block and a half from home, I can easily take a load or two to Ort. And so I’ve taken bag after bag of clothes, kitchen supplies, books, CDs and other random stuff over there in the last three weeks.
We managed to come up with another eight bags of stuff neither of us wanted over the weekend and by Monday morning I was itching to get it out of the apartment. When lunchtime came, I ran home and loaded up my black metal shopping cart and wheeled over. They’ve started to recognize me from my repeated visits and so when I maneuvered inside the store, the man and woman who were working greeted me like I was an old friend.
As I unloaded, the woman asked me, “Honey, why are you getting rid of so much stuff? Are you moving?”
I explained that my boyfriend and I were moving in together and that in order to make it all fit, a few things had to go.
She nodded understandingly and said, “I understand, try before you buy. My generation, we didn’t do that and we all got divorced.”
She repeated, “try before you buy” a couple of times and then the man said, “Aren’t those the greatest?” He was pointing at my shopping cart.
“They are really very handy, especially when you live in Center City,” I agreed.
“Mine broke recently. I was coming home from the Acme and the wheels just feel right off. I had to hail a cab in order to get my groceries home.” He said this and looked utterly dejected, as if he was reliving the experience of having his weekly shopping stuck on the curb with no way to make it budge.
My cart was empty by this point in the conversation. It just happens that I currently have two identical shopping carts, as a friend recently gave me one that she no longer needed.
“Why don’t you take this one? I have another.”
His eyes widened and he said, “Are you serious?”
The woman, who had been watching this scene play out, turned to him and said, “You see Harry, good things do happen. After all the shit you go through, occasionally good things do happen.”
Then she looked at me and said, “Dear, you just made his day.”
Harry looked like he was ready to cry as I handed the shopping cart over to him.
I said, “It’s a little squeaky, I’ve been meaning to give it a squirt of WD-40 for about three years now, but I’ve never managed to get around to it.”
He waved my comment away and said, “I’ll take care of it. Thank you so much.”
He tried to give me something from the store in return, offering to let me take a CD or two for being so generous (I declined the offer, mostly because I was fairly certain that I had donated the entirety of their CD collection). As I left the store, I could hear her continuing to say, “See Harry, good things do happen.”