I can't believe it, but I'm still not totally unpacked. The thing is, every time I think I'm done, a few more items appear from my previous apartment. It's gotten weird lately. I've been forced to make choices I would have never imagined I'd be making at my age, like, "should I move this 30-inch, fully-articulated plastic skeleton to the new place or leave it out with the trash?" (Guess which one I picked.)
I've also been educated in all the different non-trash channels for getting rid of your stuff, and I've tried nearly all of them. For example, I dropped off several bags of clothing at the Salvation Army. Then I dropped off a few more at Beacon's Closet for some consignment cash. (Hope you guys like air force parkas, because I don't anymore.) Got rid of a bulky box containing a rocker base for an Eames chair by trying out I SOLD IT ON EBAY! (I cannot emphasize how utterly ridiculous this store is, and how ashamed I am for having participated in their profit model. When I walked in there, curious about how it worked, it was exactly like you'd expect. There were all these racks filled with large or oddly shaped GARBAGE, like mannequin torsos and old typewriters and air hockey tables, and all the items had little tags hanging off them. The customer in front of me was sincerely dropping off a snowboard, which seems to me the exact item a store like that would use as a prop in their television advertising campaign. In fact, in a colorful sign above the registers, there are photographs of "stuff we typically take" and one of them was a SNOWBOARD. Problem solved. When I was dropping off my item, and showing the employee where he could find similar items sold on eBay, then actually pointing out which eBay listing descriptions he could basically copy to write my listing, it occurred to me that this place was providing next to zero value-added service for the 30% commission they were taking. I nearly took my box of rocker base, turned around, and marched right back out the front door. Then I realized it would mean carrying around a large box for a few blocks, and said fuck it. Sigh. I SOLD IT ON EBAY, you have served me!)
Finally, I got hooked into the "freecycle.org" scene, and rid myself of an old office chair that had previously been employed as a rolling surface to throw stuff that wasn't quite trash and wasn't quite suited for any special destination in my apartment. (This is a problem I have quite a bit. I start defaulting certain locations in my apartment for this purpose. I used to throw stuff on an extra table, which I then gave to my building super just to break me of the habit. After that, I put stuff on a loveseat I didn't need, until I gave that to my super as well, again to break the habit. I have found I'm good at eliminating options and very bad at eliminating behaviors.) Freecycle is odd. At first, when I posted my listing there was total internet silence. Then, 48 hours later, my inbox was crowded with at least 15-20 responses, one right on the heels of the last. Some were simple and to the point – "you got that chair still? me want." – and others kind of pleaded their case, like a panhandler who promises your 25 cents will be siphoned directly into the purchase of Similac or baby shoes and not more of the crack rock crumbs that have collected in his beard. One guy appealed to my sympathy, by explaining his current seating arrangement was a broken folding chair with diabetes. Another let me know he'd use the chair for his "home music studio," perhaps thinking I would sleep better at night knowing my chair was being utilized to create art. (i.e. commercial jingles) I found that email particularly funny, and wondered if he thought he was going to edge out other respondents who were leaving messages like, "Hello, sir. I wonder if your office chair is still available. I think it would make a wonderful addition to my 'Rape Room.' Please call me between 8am - 5pm, before prime raping time."
I finally settled on a guy with a Dutch name, mostly because his emails were straightforward and perfunctory, and partly because he was the first to respond and, unlike another top contender, didn't balk at the fact that I live two flights up by moaning, "TWO FLIGHTS??? Oh, I can't carry a chair down two flights of stairs..." (That ellipsis represents the space in our telephone conversation that she clearly hoped I'd fill with, "WHY I'D BE HAPPY TO CARRY MY FREE CHAIR DOWNSTAIRS FOR YOU!!!" And, of course, that's just what I said for I am a sucker.)
The chair pick-up was not unlike his emails. He walked into my nearly empty apartment, remarked on how nice it was (Buddy, you already got the chair. Stop kissing my ass.), saw the chair and remarked on how nice it was, then carried it out without another word, not even a goodbye. As he was leaving, I asked him if he needed a vaccum (he did not) or a fully-articulated, realistic plastic skeleton. (again, he did not)