Is sometimes another man’s nightmare. Or wait, that’s not how it goes, is it?
Let me tell you a litte story. I think we’re finally far enough past the week that this actually happened to me to let the rest of my lingering emotion from it out and onto the good ‘ole www.
A couple of months ago, I headed out early one Saturday morning to get some errands done sans kiddos. As I drove down our street and past a house about ten down from ours, I couldn’t help but notice (what looked like) a really nice table and four-chair set just hanging out six inches from the curb. Six inches from the curb as in the owners apparently didn’t want it anymore. That’s what you would think, right? Ok, me too. Here’s a visual mock-up if you’re having a hard time picturing it:
So, I drove on and maybe said a little prayer that went something like “God, if you want me to have that table and chairs, you just make sure it’s still there when I get back and I’ll grab it”. And then I laughed at myself because there was no way it was going to be there when I got back.
And guess what? IT WAS! A few hours later when I pulled into our neighborhood and drove down our street and past that house, I spotted it. I couldn’t believe it! I mean, it was a Saturday morning when countless people had probably driven past it. It had to meant to be…because God cares about superficial things like furniture on the side of the road, I know. ;)
Well, I couldn’t help myself. I pulled over. Being that it was six inches from the curb, I knew that it was probably considered trash but I just wanted to make sure because honestly, I didn’t know who in their right mind would toss such a set. So, I mosyed on up to the front door of the house it was in front of and a nice guy answered my ring. This is how the conversation went:
Me: Hi! Do you guys not want that table?
He: Nope, take it!
He: Yes, please take it.
Me: Ok! Well, can I pay you for it? It’s nice!
Me: Not even $10?
He: (laughs) No.
Me: Well, I’m going to anyway. I don’t have cash on me right now but I’ll stick it in your mailbox later.
He: Ok. Whatever.
I skipped as merrily away as I could being that I was pregnant and puzzle-pieced the chairs into the back of our little car. The table wouldn’t fit so I scurried home and told Anthony we needed to walk down the street and “carry a table home” stat. And we did.
But, here’s the thing. We didn’t need a table. However, I knew something that the money from selling it could go towards so I scrubbed her clean, set her up, and listed her for sale on a local resale site.
And whaddya know? I had people lined up to buy it in just a few hours and it was out our door in a few days.
Meanwhile…and when I say meanwhile, what I really mean is MEANwhile…
I get a comment on the listing from some lady I don’t even know who apparently knows the owner of the table and chairs letting me know that “It’s not right to take something that was given to you and then sell it.” Ok. She wasn’t there when I grabbed the table nor did she see it sitting that six inches from the curb and it was a little rude of her to speak her opinion being that she wasn’t there but whatever. I went about my day. As the day progressed a few people “liked” her comment on the listing and, I’ll be honest, it perturbed me a little. First of all, people don’t ever “like” comments on listings because there’s usually nothing special about them so for these people to be liking this rude comment, what they were really doing is agreeing with this girl and, maybe I was still taking it too personal, but telling me I was wrong for selling a table I grabbed off the curb. Whatever. Deep breaths and eye rolls commenced and I moved on.
The day progressed, evening came, Anthony and I put the kids to bed and then sat down to relax together on the couch…and then I get this Facebook message…
…from a completely different person than the earlier commenter. Either I’m not as thick-skinned as I think or maybe this was just the end of my nerve, but I was livid. I was so mad I was shaking. As I sat there on our couch after laying the kids down for the night, I stewed. So many things ran through my head. This girl doesn’t even KNOW me! The table was trash on their curb! Get a job? Need money? Karma? What the #$*%&#&?????? And then came rolling in all the things I wanted to write back to her. Expletives and I’m not even really a user. Needless to say, that anger gave me enough to fuel to stop me from going to sleep before 2 am that night. The next day I found out that someone had tried to report me to get me removed from the resale site for “selling something I was given.” Of course people do that all the time so thankfully, the administrators laughed at the reporter but still, it all made me crazy. So many irrational thoughts ran through my head during those hours when I couldn’t sleep that night. Am I wrong for taking the set? Did I make all this up? Am I crazy? Is being a stay-at-home mom really a job? Are people going to come after me? Is taking unwanted furniture off someone’s curb stealing? I even scoured the internet for articles about people who troll over curbs and trash bins for treasures to fix-up and sell or keep or whatever just to bring myself back down to Earth. People do do this! It’s real! I’m not crazy! I’m not wrong for taking this set! I…zzzz…
Like I said earlier, the table went out our front door with its current owner a few days later and let me tell you, I’ve never been so excited to see something leave my house.
My whole point in writing out this little tale is to remind you as it reminded me: Never assume. Never. Never. Never. Never assume you know everything about a certain situation, especially if you weren’t there in the moment. The same goes about a person. Never assume you know everything about a person or the reason why they do something. I’ve always tried to place empathy before judgement and, as an imperfect human, it’s hard. It’s hard for me. It’s so much easier to place blame or to scoff at someone without knowing them and where they came from and why they are who they are. In a sense, I’m glad that this whole crazy scenario happened because it really drove that into my head, once again. I’m sure I’ll need to be reminded of it over and over again as I go through life but thank God for the opportunity to grow. There is truth and there is love and, while we can’t always know the truth because of circumstance, we can always choose to love. Seek the truth and choose to love. Always remember that Sheena.
And also, never ever again grab trash off the curb in one’s own neighborhood because, like she said, karma will get you.
. . .