Thursday, September 27, 2007

Good Will Toward Goodwill

I decided this morning that my room lacked something important. Well, something important besides a fourth wall, or a door: a chair. I have a chair at my computer desk, so there's a place to write, and I have my bed, so there's a place to sleep. Missing, though, is a place to read, which means that I've done the vast majority of my reading over past few weeks while walking to and from school. While that's all well and good, sometimes I like to read without having to worry about oncoming traffic. I needed a chair.

So I headed over to my local Goodwill, which is roughly a block away from me, and which I love: they're huge, well-stocked, and willing to bargain. (A few weeks ago, completely on accident, I bargained a pair of shoes down to $5.99 from $8.99; while that did save money, I do, believe it or not, have a few shards of dignity left, so I won't be repeating the experience.)

It only took me a few minutes in the store to find the perfect comfy chair, reasonably priced at $7.99. It took me a few minutes longer to try picking up the chair, realize it was too heavy, try pulling the chair, realize I couldn't grip it right, try pushing the chair, and realize that, without wheels, it wouldn't glide so smoothly on the sidewalk outside. Luckily for me, an aging black man in an employee vest walked past me just as I was standing next to the now-out-of-place armchair, considering how to get it home. He asked if I needed help, and, hearing my predicament, offered to lend me one of the store's dollies--"but only if you promise to bring it back," he said. I swore up and down that I would, and thus we had a deal.

He got the chair onto the dolly for me, and then I pushed it up to the register, practicing for my walk home. As I did, he walked behind me, announcing, loudly, "Look, everyone! She's pushing it herself! Isn't she just adorable?" Apparently there's something to be said for that helplessness thing after all--if, that is, you want men the age of your grandfather treating you like their granddaughter.

After I paid for the chair and started pushing it out, another employee came rushing after me to help me. It seemed like she was going to push the dolly the entire block back to my apartment, so I assured her I was fine on my own and that I would bring the dolly back.

"Scout's honor?" she asked. "Er, Girl Scout's honor?" I hesitated at that, and she began to laugh. "You were never a Girl Scout, were you? I'm taking that dolly back!"

"I was a Brownie!" I said. "And I swear I didn't leave for honor-related reasons! Cross my heart and hope to die!"

Laughing again, she let me go, and I pushed the dolly and chair up the hill to my apartment, singing as I walked, and walked, and walked. When, ten minutes later, I returned to Goodwill, dolly in tow, the store employee looked up from the register and grinned. "Hey everyone," she said, "check it out! It's Brownie girl! With the dolly! Looks like even Girl Scout dropouts can have honor."

So now I have a chair on my balcony (the only place it fits), and a nickname at Goodwill. What--besides, of course, a girlfriend with bows in her hair--could be better than that?

4 comments:

Th. said...

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Awesome story. And I'm glad to know Goodwill's so close--I keep forgetting to figure out where it is.

What's the new language? Svedish?

Zillah said...

i can't believe fascinating womanhood has a website. i feel quite ill.

Your Mother said...

And she goes wherever she likes (there she goes)

I never could get you to wear a bow in your hair.

I still like Think Bink as your nickname.

Petra said...

th--It's Indonesian. I realized that the Arabic stuff was setting my posts backwards, so I switched it. Swedish would be nice, though; I'll keep it in mind.

zillah: would it help or hurt if I told you how many languages it's been translated into?

Mom: I'd wear a bow now, if I had enough hair. I've got have some way to convince people I'm not a lesbian.