Selling the Past One Bar at a Time

Tonight I said goodbye to the first piece of real furniture I bought in New York.

Does anyone ever keep the first piece of real furniture they bought? Surely not. But this always felt as if it was going to stay with me, no matter what. It was a Formica topped, “leather” padded minibar from… the ’50s? 1960s? Regardless, I found it in a thrift store in Westchester for $25 the summer of 2003 and took it back to my dorm.

I moved the damn thing a total of four times. It saw me through multiple boyfriends, required a special trip in a special car from Westchester to my apartment, and served as my desk for the last decade.

All good things come to an end, and one of the things I have long craved was a real desk. Something that wasn’t too tall, that didn’t hurt my back, and that could conceivably be conducive to novel writing. After halfheartedly scouring vintage stores for years, I recently found one. But that necessitated doing something with The Bar. I have recently had this feeling about almost everything I own that has been with me since I first moved to New York. I want things with no memories, things that have not outlasted most of the friends I thought were permanent. And, slowly but steadily, I have been replacing items with either higher end or higher quality replacements that come with no memories. I want to learn how to forget as easily as I remember, because there’s very little in the past worth holding on to, despite my usual habits.

I sold The Bar on craigslist, of course. I got lucky with the buyer: A guy in his 20s who had just moved from the South into his first New York City apartment. The Bar was the first piece of furniture he moved in; in fact, all that was in his apartment was a Jesus candle and an air mattress. My god, he was excited about owning it. And as I shook his hand and took his money (I doubled my investment), I was so pleased. That I’d found a good home for a piece that meant I carried with me for a decade, yes. But also that I was paying it forward, as it were, helping a new New Yorker find his bearings and furnish his home.

If he sells it—or when, really—I hope that it goes to someone deserving. And maybe I hope that he sells it to another new New Yorker, and explains that it’s a tradition with this piece. That’s asking too much, really (a film plot scenario in the dog-eat-dog world of moving bulky furniture in NYC), but that’s what I dream for the first night in a decade that I don’t know exactly where The Bar is.


One thought on “Selling the Past One Bar at a Time

  1. This was so perfect and rings true to my own life. And also explains why I only own an air mattress and a Jesus candle now…

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