[MEMBERS ONLY] Metaphors From the Free Table

Be Careful of What You Toss Away.

Metaphors From the Free Table

There is a free table in my building. It’s actually a radiator, but “free radiator” doesn’t have the same zing. It’s in the front of the lobby, perfectly situated, so you can see its major or minor pile of promises from both entrance and exit.

Upon entering and exiting my building multiple times a day, I first look at the free table.

Today, I almost walked away from the watches. First—they’re dirty. Second, they are hideous and bulky. But I grabbed them.

I’ve made passing reference to my minor problem walking past the discards of someone else’s life.

Perhaps it’s because I grew up in a house as the youngest of six, and I not only coveted my older siblings’ clothes but inherited them.

To me, hand-me-downs are objects of hope. Each item tells the story of the person who owned it before you. Because my life in hand-me-downs came from my older siblings, whom I looked up to, I now view all used items as opportunities to be cooler, more sophisticated, and different. For me, every item someone else has discarded has the potential to be the missing piece that will make me whole.

But because no object can make a person whole, the circle of hope doesn’t close, and the search continues.

Cast-offs elicit notions of the previous owner—and it’s upon this imagined proxy that I design the ideal person. The person whose essence I get to wear and who—naturally, I will transform into once I’ve tried on the clothes, read the books, listened to the albums, or, as in the most recent case, tried on the watches.

Sometimes, the free table’s discards appear less than desirable, and I walk away from those discards, following my instincts because our instincts are always right—right?

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