‘I Spotted a Metal-and-Glass Shelving Unit in Perfect Condition’


Dear Diary:

I was doing that thing my husband hates: inspecting trash left on the curb. It’s amazing what New Yorkers throw away. This form of treasure hunting, known as stooping, brings me joy.

It’s good for the planet, saves me money and encourages me to walk. And when I no longer need what I picked up, I can return it to the street without an ounce of regret.

Over the years, I’ve acquired many cherished possessions, some practical, others functional, in unintended ways. One piece, an Italian-made floor lamp in our living room, is literally a fixture in our lives.

On this particular day, I spotted a metal-and-glass shelving unit in perfect condition in front of a building on West 16th Street. I was running late for a doctor’s appointment, so I kept walking.

When I got to the doctor’s office, I daydreamed about the unit. It could be a bookshelf, a makeshift pantry, a display for my daughter’s Play-Doh sculptures.

Returning along the same route, I saw the unit was still sitting there.

Take me home, it beckoned. So I did.

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