Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Necessity is a mother

Having a small apartment, wanting to save money, and not speaking the language all contribute to the necessity of being creative in acquiring goods. For example, when I first moved in here 18 months ago, the school supplied a wardrobe with a wooden bar you hang clothes from (is there a name for that?) ten inches longer than the wardrobe was wide. Solution? Swiffer Sweeper handle.

Some months ago I found a two-drawer dresser somebody had put on the street. One man's trash is another man's... umm... tacky furniture. And Tug does his part... his two favorite beds are my soft-sided suitcase with a blanket that came free with a box of Frosted Flakes and a New Balance shoe box with a blanket courtesy of Kellogg's Corn Flakes.

Anyway, I spend 90 percent of my waking at-home time in one chair, in front of one little table. This is where I write, surf, correct papers, plan, watch TV, eat, take my pills... the problem is that my laptop and its accoutre... accouter... stuff take up half the table, leaving me with an area about eight inches deep for my paperwork and meals and such.

After school yesterday, I was headed over to the Yangjae Cheon to meet Lauren for a run and found a little computer table, with a slide-out drawer, out on the street for pickup.
 (This isn't it.)

I brought it back home and left it, figuring I'd find a space for it somehow. When I came back, I toted it all over-- to the extent that a postage-stamp-sized apartment has an all over-- seeing how it would work in front of the sliding doors to the alcove and balcony, eyeballing moving the TV, seeing if there was somehow space in the little bedroom...

I had just sadly determined that I had no space and was about to take the desklet back down for some other bargain hunter to find when it hit me upside the head like a 25-pound bag of tapioca: it might go under the other table.

And it does, as if designed for that purpose. Now I can just slide it out for 432 glorious square inches of desk space. It has a shelf, too, that's good for a footrest and yet another cat bed and in case I ever buy a book...

In principal, I'm a huge supporter of recycling, Craigslist, Freecycle, and all that good stuff. I won't go as far as the customer we once had at our bookstore who told an old lady she could find really cool magazines if she'd go dumpster diving. (He was the guy with the mustache that was really his nose hair...) However...

Our culture teaches us to chase more and more bigger and bigger stuff. But what we want isn't the stuff; it's the happiness that we imagine the stuff will bring us. I'm just skipping the middleman and trying to learn to be happy.

And telling the stuff to stuff it.

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