Trying to come up with a spiffy title for today, I thought “hmmm, well, nothing is ‘free’ — but that’s not always a bad thing….” Then, I started hearing Metallica’s Sad But True in my head (“pay, for nothing’s fair”) and started rocking out to that… But, that’s not really what I’m after either. We’ll see what comes up.
But, the idea is something about stuff that is “free,” and not the usual hogpodge about how there’s always a price for everything and it’s all dreary and pound-of-fleshy, etc. Today, my ordinary cynicism is taking a coffee break. Because…..
We finally got rid of our old washer and dryer.
I know, this doesn’t strike one as something that would cause a celebration of the human spirit, right?
Our washer and dryer had been with us for ten years. It was the first washer and dryer in my first condo (405 square feet!) in Boston. It was ventless (a big deal for apartment dwelling) and white and shiny and very expensive. It was also very small. While well suited to the demands of a single city girl, it’s not so helpful for a family with a dog in rural America. So, eventually the dryer frizted out and we decided to replace them. If you’ve shopped for major appliances recently, you recall that these shiny babies aren’t cheap, so we didn’t get *new* ones – but we did get almost new, new to us ones. And these hot shots are massive. I mean, you could bathe a large dog inside one of these, not that I would recommend it. But a Great Dane would find it comfy and effective.
We moved the now retired units into our mudroom, that New England staple of “supposed to be a three season porch but ends up holding all the crap you don’t know what to do with” space. It cluttered up the whole thing and was generally very depressing to look at — for months. Months. It was the kind of view that makes one feel poor, regardless of income. We couldn’t figure out how to get rid of it. There was still useful life left to it, once some small repairs were done on the dryer. A new one would cost over $2K, so it’s got to be worth something to someone, but – who?
Eventually, I posted a free ad online saying, “FREE washer and dryer. Dryer needs some repairs. You pick up.”
Two days later a big-ass Ford 150 shows up. Three women had come to pick up the units for one of them. It was going to be used in her first apartment, in a lovely narrative parallel. These three were fantastic. They were funny and nice and strong and really clever. One of them even taught me how to tie knots properly, like she does in the Frontier and her boyfriend does in the Army.
The new owner was thrilled with having her very own washer and dryer. She was estatic (which makes sense if you’ve gone appliance hunting yourself – there’s quite a thrill when you actually get your very own massive machine). She was also stunned that we would just give something like this away.
I don’t feel that we did give it away, though. Sure, we didn’t receive any cash. But, we were allowed to be a part of a very special moment in a person’s life, that day when you move out and stand firmly on your own two feet. It was beautiful. Between the humor of watching everyone load the units into the truck, the joking about how to install everything, and observing the joy of the woman herself, and the pride in her that her friends felt — well, we were more than compenstated. It was a glorious moment, and I’m so glad to have been a part of it.
It’s a Big Thing, finally making your own home. A Big, Special, Sweet Moment. And it’s an honor to be part of it.
Thank you, ladies, and good fortune to you all.