Friday, January 05, 2007

Salvation's in the bag.

Every few months, I get the urge to look for a couch. I've had my futon ever since I started graduate school, which is too long ago for me to want to remember, for various reasons. I check out Craigslist, get overwhelmed, decide my futon is good enough for now, and forget about it.

Today the itch struck me again, so I popped into the Salvation Army, where they usually have a sizeable assortment of 70s and 80s style furniture (I actually found my comfy little side chair there). I tried out a few couches, but unfortunately enough, the one that was most comfortable and had springs that didn't sink down to the floor was the most ugly couch. Hands down. It looked like it came out of Gramma's attic--pine green velvet and scuffed around the arms.

I considered it for a brief second, trying to decide if I could pull off a shabby chic look, or if it would just be sadly shabby. I shelved the idea and started to look around the rest of the store.

I have an idea for making a laptop case, and thought that a felted sweater or a wool coat could offer up enough material for it. As I looked around, the Mexican woman working in the back, putting out merchandise, kept yelling to the cashier to bring her things, orale, and calling him "calavera." I turned and saw a tall, thin man with a closely shaved head running back to her, and nodded. The name certainly seemed apt.

Finally, I found an Old Navy sweater in a size L that someone had shrunk down to probably an XS. Sad for the owner, but it yielded a nice thick fabric. I picked it up and headed to the register.

Close up, I could see even better why the woman was teasing the cashier. Sunken eyes and pale skin. Calavera rang up the sweater, and commented that it would be too warm to wear it, soon. I shrugged and told him I was going to cut it up anyway. Try and make a purse out of it.

He looked at me and said, You're very attractive. Surprised, I smiled brightly, as though he were praising my penmanship or how well I tied my shoes. Thank you! Wait a minute, he said, turning to reach into the display case behind him. He brought out a leather purse, that at first glance looked like one of those Mexican bags that tourists used to bring back.

Do you like it? I looked at it uncertainly, not knowing what to say. I'll sell it to you for a dollar. Um, I said, digging in my wallet....I just gave you all my cash. Forget it, he said. I'll buy it for you. No, no, I insisted, looking for quarters. No, really. Take it. He turned away abruptly and I grabbed the plastic bag and scurried out of the store.

Once I was safely away, in the Target parking lot, I opened the bag and examined it. It looks like it might have been handmade, and the name Juanita I. Oliver is written in ink on the flap. There is no lining, and the strap is well-worn.

I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do with it. It's neat, but it kinda freaks me out.


At 6:19 AM, Blogger Ashley said...

That is...odd. I've been watching Heroes too much; don't you feel like you'll be carrying that bag one day and it will stop a bullet or something?

At 6:20 AM, Blogger Ashley said...

ps the Goodwill on South Lamar has decent couches sometimes.

At 8:04 AM, Blogger Elizabeth said...

I have to say that one of the happiest moments when we finished grad school was ditching our crappy old futon couch. And hey, I notice you're nearly done with your prospectus - so that day is coming for you too.

At 11:17 AM, Blogger Knitroglycerin said...

No couch, but a shrunken sweater and a leather purse? That would work for me. If you're into the shabby chic look, there are throws and slipcovers to throw over the delightful pine green scuffed velvet... Or you could get really corny and knit moose and bear cushions and use pine-sol in your place; you know, make it feel like Yellowstone!! ;-)

Congrats on all your FOs; you're several steps ahead of me! I'm still working on belated Christmas presents...

At 1:21 PM, Blogger Nancy said...

Eerie! I thought for sure you were going to say that the guy sold you that other wonan's purse!

At 5:14 PM, Anonymous vicky said...

Wierd. You should cut up the purse into little pieces and glue them on a piece of thin plywood (paint the plywood first) and create a mosaic of a calavera silhoutte. then get a nice frame & ¡Voila! you have a nice piece of art with a great story to talk about in the future....

At 5:15 AM, Blogger Karen said...

Ah ha, working your feminine wiles on Mr. Dia de Los Muertos, huh? LOL I'm sure he was harmless, but it is a little creepy, huh? What a cool purse though.


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