Un amour qui hante mon coeur à jamais... un amour pour l'éternité et l'espoir de trouver la paix un jour... des mots qu'un amoureux parti ne verra pas...Adieu, mon amour. Adieu.*
Sunday, October 4, 2009
French (Missed) Connection
Alas, dear readers, not every Dumpster Diving story has a happy ending. Certainly there are many among the ranks of vintage décor hunters who have loved and lost: finders of apparent vintage gems, who later discover their treasures are as irreparably broken as a butterfly’s wing. However, what follows is a much sadder tale, not one of broken dreams but rather of fate’s cruelty….
Recently, while taking a much needed respite from the drudgery of The Job (i.e., the one that funds my furniture addiction), I succumbed to my habit which I had managed to avoid for some weeks – browsing Craigslist. I entered the CL world, with the intention of journeying through the Washington DC listings in my routine order: “Free”, “Antiques”, and “Furniture”. However, shortly after initiating my scan through the “Free” category (and after skipping ads offering such questionable items as “Half Box of Frozen Dreamsicles”), I happened upon an ad that stopped me in my tracks: the lister was GIVING AWAY a 19th century French settee. Yes, FREE. The owner indicated he/she to be despondent over having to part with such a treasure, but nonetheless circumstances (which must have been dire) mandated that this glorious piece be left by the curb for the first taker.
The ad indicated the settee was awaiting rescue on a street in Alexandria, Virginia – only a few miles form my office! I immediately sent an email to the lister asking if the piece was perchance still available. Since the ad had been posted over an hour prior to my seeing it, I had no doubt that my inquiry was in vain.
After another hour passed without any response, I decided to throw caution to the wind: I called friend Doogie (who works in my office building, one floor above) and told him that we needed to embark on a furniture rescue mission. As this was not the first time Doogie had been called upon to accompany me on such an undertaking, he immediately agreed. Within minutes, after Googling the street address stated in the CL ad, we were off in my Passat wagon like a furniture EMS team to save the settee.
Doogie, being more familiar with the layout of that particular niche of Alexandria, deftly maneuvered us to the identified street. There, nestled among the closely parked cars, was the object of our search…and it was more alluring in person than in its CL photo! Yes, dear readers, it incited an attack of Vintage Vertigo! Trembling with the thrill of discovery, I pulled my car to the curb (shielding my find from others who may have embarked on the same search) and began removing everything from my car that may hinder the loading of the treasured settee. (Such items included another rescued item of the French persuasion: a 1970s vintage dining chair, saved from certain ruin on Sig-O’s Capital Hill street weeks earlier, intended as a project in my Furniture Repair and Refinishing class. I had visions of strapping the chair – and Doogie – to the Passat’s luggage rack in order to transport the settee to its rightful home.) Although Doogie the Dubious doubted my ability to get the substantial settee into the Passat’s rear compartment, I assured him, “IT. WILL. FIT.”
Recognizing that making good on my promise would require some assistance, I frantically searched for someone to engage in my task. Low and behold, like a gift from the furniture gods, but a few houses down the street was a crew of landscapers! I quickly approached one of the gentlemen, and without preamble offered him $5 to help me move the settee de’francais from the gutter into its awaiting chariot; having earlier seen the beauty in distress, he readily agreed.
Although he shared Doogie’s doubts, the landscaper heartily assisted us in maneuvering the settee through the Passat’s rear hatch. But, oh the furniture gods, they are a’fickle! Despite all our finagling, IT.DIDN’T.FIT. Indeed, the now seemingly gargantuan structure of wood and velvet actually got stuck halfway in the car! The trio of rescuers was finally able to dislodge the faded lady and I, spiraling down from my Vintage Vertigo crescendo, was forced to admit defeat.
Having no other resource to call upon (that is, no friend with a truck), I solemnly placed the settee back in its spot among the trash receptacles. As Doogie and I drove away, I forlornly caught my last vision of the settee in the rearview mirror; cursing the inadequacies of the Passat, I once again proclaimed to the heavens the obvious: “I NEED A VAN!” And to the lovely French settee,
*(A love that forever haunts my heart...love for eternity and a hope to find peace some day….Farewell, my love. Farewell.)