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The case of the disappearing couch: A Tale from 2006 (or thereabouts), Part 2

17 Jan

(Read Part 1 here.)

So the couch. It was missing. We had nowhere to sit. Or rather, we had places to sit, but they were not cozy. They were, in fact, hard-backed wooden dining chairs, which are the same hard-backed wooden dining chairs I still have. Although they’re in rather desperate need of a refinish, especially after L and I worked so hard to refinish the dining table, now nothing matches.

In any case, we were couchless. This would make our soon-to-be-scheduled Rocky Balboa marathon viewing session rather uncomfortable. (If I haven’t espoused my love for Rocky here before, let me do so now. I loved those movies, in particular movie No. 1. “Yo Adriennneee!” What a cutie.)

So naturally being of the nonconfrontational sort, I went directly to bed, in hopes the problem would solve itself overnight. The morning revealed lovely rays of sunshine bursting through the Oregon cloud cover. The sunbeams fell, of course, on a large gaping hole in the living room where the couch belonged. (Also, the couch at the curb had disappeared, but that was less noteworthy.) So, I did what any sane postadolescent-posing-as-an-adult would do, I put on some flip-flops and stalked to each of the neighbor’s houses and asked if they’d seen anyone make off with the couch. Each neighbor shook his or her head, admitting that they’d been at work or hadn’t been paying attention, or just hadn’t noticed anyone carting a giant brown behemoth furnishing under their noses and off to Timbuktu.

By the time I got to the last house, the house directly behind ours, I let out a heavy sigh and said, “Well, I suppose I’ll just have to file a police report, then.” I mean, it was worth a pretty penny, particularly in our postcollegiate salad days. I’m sure the cops wouldn’t have rubbed two sticks together to find the missing couch but what the hey, worth a shot, right?

That’s when the tubby, prematurely balding fellow behind the Scotch-taped screen door paused. “Wait,” he said. “I … wait here.” He disappeared into the dank interior of his 1.5-bedroom shanty, which was quite likely larger and posher than our 1.5-bedroom shanty. I stood. I shifted my weight from left to right. Right to left. He reappeared, slowly emerging from black to brown to gray, smelling faintly of clove cigarettes and wet dog hair.

“Well, we have your couch,” he relunctantly admitted.

“Reaaa-he-heeeally,” I remarked.

“Well, you see,” he said.

“Yes?”

“In this neighborhood.”

“I see. Go on.”

“Well in this neighborhood, when a couch is positioned as yours was,” he continued.

“You mean, in a yard?” I asked.

“Well… yes. By the curb.”

“By the porch.”

“In this neighborhood…”

“I see. This neighborhood.”

“Well, we thought it was free.”

“I see.”

Much hemming and hawing later, the truth came out that they had kidnapped our couch, thinking (or at least, pretending to think) that it had been abandoned. They swapped ours for theirs, placing their 70s monstrosity by the curb, where a really real free couch ought to be positioned. Someone had pulled up with a pickup to take that one away, and naturally now they were seatless.

Nevertheless I convinced them to return our couch, explaining that it was not, indeed, free. The end result was that the burly men who lived in the house behind us were able to detach all our various doors and manhandle the couch inside. We did end up having a cozy spot to sit whilst watching Rocky’s 80s workout montages after all. Hooray!

Moral of the story? You can’t trust your neighbors. Or can you?

The case of the disappearing couch: A Tale from 2006 (or thereabouts), Part 1

17 Jan

There we were. As if it wasn’t horrible enough to be relocating to a city I hated, it wasn’t even for a decent reason – my car had broken down and getting to and from work was becoming a problem. So it was within-walking-distance-to-the-office we went, and with us came our couch. Leather. Boxy. Huge. Completely un-take-apartable. Definitely not from Ikea.

A2 had decided more than a year ago to divert one of her financial aid checks to something besides tuition, instead choosing to blow that wad of government cash on something ridiculous and bulky. She’d spent three months waffling between a pool table, and this couch. The couch won, seeing as it would serve as something to sit on whereas the pool table could be sat upon, but would be the worse for wear from it.

In the early, halcyon days of our relationship, this seemed like a perfectly logical decision. Now, though, as we stood, sweaty and defeated, on opposite ends of a couch completely stuck in the too-small doorframe of our new, tiny house on the shady side of a shady town, it was revealed for the irresponsible fiscal decision it was.

“I have to be to work in an hour,” I said.

“Stop dropping your end!” A2 said. “Here, try twisting it to the left. No, YOUR left.” She sighed, frustrated with my incompetence.

It’s a well-known fact that I am horrible at moving. Every part of it – from packing to carrying to unloading and unpacking and organizing – I despise it all. Left to my own devices it could take weeks to get fully moved, since I’d probably just tote each item to the car one by one, and stop for iced coffee breaks on the way. I am one of those people who will simply live in a jungle of boxes for six months until I am sufficiently motivated to put things in their various places.

So of course, this couch was literally and figuratively a sticking point for me. We struggled to get it in, then struggled to get it back out, since we certainly couldn’t leave it hanging halfway in the living room and halfway on the porch. I was quite ready to throw up my hands. We called a friend. She came over and tried to help, to no avail. Time was ticking. I had to get to work. A2 decided to throw the couch across the yard, in order to punish it for not fitting in. Didn’t think couch-throwing was a thing that could be done? Well you, of course, are wrong. It didn’t go far, mind you, but the couch’s feathers were certainly ruffled. We decided to leave it be until it could be properly handled. We moved it against the porch to protect it from any rain that could come along, and went our separate ways.

I went to work, and she went back to our other house to tidy up. We both figured we’d return later, with reinforcements and recovered muscles, and somehow get the couch in the house using our brains and possibly some screwdrivers. I regaled my coworkers with my sob story, hoping one or all of them would volunteer to come over and just do it for me. No such luck, of course.

Hours later, I returned from work to my house all a-shamble from unpacking. The lights were on, A2 was home, and the couch was nowhere to be seen. “Hooray!” I thought. “She’s got it inside at last.” Everything was as it should be – the couch inside, and me not having to do a lick of manual labor! I noticed, in the gloaming, that a hulking object was by the curb – not our couch, but someone else’s. A white one, upholstered, with wood trim. Likely from the 80s. “Huh,” I thought. “Someone’s getting rid of a couch, how odd.”

I burst into the living room, excited to flop down on the couch and revel in my newfound comfort. But alas, there was no couch to be found. Only a bewildered-looking A2 standing in a sea of half-unpacked boxes.

A bit of investigation revealed that, upon her return home, the house had been as she left it, but the couch, which if you recall had been residing peacefully in the yard when we left, had disappeared, replaced by the aforementioned curb-bound white whale of a seating arrangement. This, this did not bode well for the new ‘hood. Couch thieves were afoot! Roaming hither! And thither! And more importantly, purloining our prized possessions! (And then replacing them with their inferior couches. Smooth move, robber barons. Unconventional, but smooth).

…to be continued. Cuz I got bored.

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