Yesterday, my friend ringloss over at jaXed asked me a question that had an immediate impact that makes me want to tell you a little story. It was:
“Hey… do you want two free couches?”
Now, I haven’t accepted yet, and I might not. But as I told him, I have a soft spot in my heart for a free couch. Here is why.
Many years ago, I was still a relatively young buck just making his way in Capitol Hill. That’s Denver, not DC. Honestly, I was a little dejected. I was living in a studio apartment at the time, and quite recently, my brother had moved into my studio and I had returned from my very first vision quest in Arizona (and a successful vision quest it was, too, as I actually and honestly saved my first life. But that’s a story for another time).
But, anyway, I was working in what was honestly a dead-end job for a company that I truly detested. I was poor. I was taking buses everywhere I went, and I was…blah. It sucked. So, I was arriving home from work, and I was thinking about how my poor brother was, at that time, sleeping on this completely uncomfortable couch that I had in my lil’ hovel. Let’s say that I was just not happy. Then, as I walked through the alley to the studio apartment that I STILL couldn’t afford, I saw something.
It was a couch. Just sitting there, outside the back entrance to my apartment building. The couch looked… well, it looked clean. I saw no rips, or tears on my preliminary inspection. No place to hide drugs, no cat hairs, no anything. It was just a decent looking couch. And it had a sign on it. The sign said:
That was it. Just like that.
I went upstairs and walked in the door and said. “Hm. Hey, (insert bro’s name here), there’s a couch out back with sign on it that says, ‘FREE COUCH’.”
“FREE COUCH?” he replied. “Let’s go look at it.”
So we went. It was a fine couch. We took it and moved it into my apartment.
As it turns out, that one couch was the most comfortable couch in my home. Great for the sleepin’. And that couch followed us for three different apartments. No matter where we went, and who we lived with, that was always the MOST comfortable couch in the house. It saw me through two girlfriends and a sordid affair. I won’t even discuss the dates and others who sat, laid down, or slept on that couch. I came to love the couch.
After having the couch for damn near six years, I had to move from another apartment, and I couldn’t take the couch.
I was heartbroken.
When my friend and I were taking the couch out back of my basement apartment, he asked,”Hey, just want to throw this in the dumpster?”
No, I said. I went back into my apartment and grabbed a Sharpie and a piece of notebook paper. On that notebook paper, I wrote:
Gently I taped that paper to my favorite couch, and we gingerly sat that couch next to the apartment building. Then we left for an hour, because I was beside myself.
When we returned, the couch was gone.
I had paid it back, and that made me happier than I could have believed possible, at least, for that moment. Not paid it forward, as I doubt that giving away a couch qualified as something big and important enough. I suppose it was possible.
So, needless to say, I am soft, very soft, on the Free Couch.
Thank you, Humanity, at least for another week.