Earlier today someone posted to Facebook’s MV Stuff 4 Sale page on behalf of some friends of hers: a couple with two young children who’ve just been kicked out of their house by their landlord, who’s decided he wants to live there this summer. (If you have any leads, let me know and I’ll pass them on to this woman.)
I was in a similar situation exactly 10 years ago: the terminally self-absorbed landlady from whom I was renting two rooms decided she wanted to make these rooms available to a guy who was going to re-roof her house in lieu of rent. Finding an affordable year-round rental in mid-spring is not easy, and to make it more challenging I had Rhodry. “No pets” is common in rental ads. But the miracle occurred: I found a place in Vineyard Haven, and Rhodry and I moved on June 1.
I later learned that the roofer reneged and landlady was left with rentless rooms and no new roof. Awww . . .
My new digs had been vacated by the death of their previous occupant, who was a few years older than I was then, a few years younger than I am now. His brother and sister-in-law didn’t need his stuff, so I bought a bunch of it for cheap, including a hot plate, a toaster oven, and a microwave. These were utter necessities because this wasn’t a legal apartment, and the way a non-legal apartment stays just this side of the law (and the building inspector) is by not having a stove.
The microwave and the toaster oven came with me when I moved to my current (legal) apartment a little over five years ago. Since I had a real kitchen, which is to say a stove, the hot plate went to the thrift shop. In recent months, the microwave’s number pad has gotten a little funky: the 2, the 8, and the 0 faltered and then stopped working entirely. The oven itself, however, was working fine. I could work around the funky numbers.
A week or so ago I was visiting with my friend Shirley, who recently moved to a new house. She was looking forward to the arrival of her new microwave, not least because it would be installed above her conventional oven and thus free up the counter space currently occupied by her old microwave. She said I could have the old one if I wanted it. You bet I did.
I picked it up on Wednesday. It fit neatly into the corner occupied by the old one, and after I plugged it in I was duly impressed: it walked me through setting the clock. Ten years ago I’d been so flummoxed trying to set the time on my old/new microwave that I’d had to order a copy of the manual to figure it out.
Yesterday I posted a photo of the old microwave to MV Stuff 4 Sale: “Free microwave. Heats fine. 2, 8, and 0 buttons don’t work.” Within a few hours I had a taker. His girlfriend picked it up today.
So I’m sitting here at my laptop counting up the things within eyeshot that came from somewhere else. The chair-side worktable was one of the items I bought from dead former tenant’s family; it used to be a TV/VCR caddy. Travvy’s travel crate I got off eBay. A friend found my camp chair at the Dumptique (aka the recycling shed at the West Tisbury dump). My computer desk was another MV Stuff 4 Sale find: I wrote about it in “Saved by a Desk” in early March. And so on.
I’ve seen other people wearing clothes I donated to the Dumptique or the thrift shop. I’m sure other Vineyarders have recognized the various sweaters and jackets I wear out and about, though so far no one’s come up to me and said so. My “new” is someone else’s “old”; my “old” is someone else’s “new.” In this age of planned obsolescence, some things last long enough to have several lives. I like it.