It all started a couple of weeks ago, when I made the mistake of taking a table out of our family room to use in my new outdoor office. This led to a cascading domino effect involving several pieces of furniture which needed to be reconfigured. Ken undertook the rearranging of the room with his usual good humour, rolling his eyes only slightly as I issued instructions:
Me: Can you put that cupboard in the corner by the sectional?
Me: Ooh, I don’t like it there. Can you move it over by the patio doors?
Me: Maybe it would be better by the window…?
Me: Never mind, it’s fine where it is.
After all the adjustments were made, Kate complained that there was no longer a table behind the couch for her to set a drink on. But I had another table that I’d just bought for resale, and it would do in a pinch. Then I saw a really cool idea for a sofa table involving using a cast iron sewing machine base with a wooden top, and decided that was exactly what the room needed. I found an old machine for 50 bucks, took it apart and repainted the base, then we used some cherry wood that Ken’s dad had given us for the top.
It looks awesome, and the best part is I sold the machine for $30 and the drawers for $40. But that left us with the placeholder table that I had to do something with. Then I had a brainstorm—I would buy two cheap chairs, paint them and upholster the seats in a toile fabric, and sell the whole damn thing as a set. But where to find chairs? Obviously, Facebook Marketplace. And wouldn’t you know it? I found the two exact chairs I needed for sale for $25 for the pair so I immediately messaged Cindy, the woman who had posted the ad with the standard “Is this still available?” message. She replied right away that yes, they were, so I asked if I could pick them up the next day around 4:30. This was her response:
Open 8am to 4pm Monday to Thursday. Friday 9am to 4PM.
address___________ (I’ve blanked this out for reasons which will become clear)
drive in the parking lot to the back
white Bay 1 door.
ask for Deana
And now, of course, I had more questions than answers, the first and foremost of which was “Who the f*ck is Deana?” Is Cindy RELATED to Deana, or is she her boss or what? Does Deana know she is going to be asked for? And why am I picking up two apparently antique chairs from some strange warehouse/speakeasy? Is there a secret password that I need to know? I was also slightly miffed that Cindy hadn’t even bothered to read my message wherein I had clearly stated that I couldn’t be there until 4:30, so I responded with “Sorry, I can’t make it by 4”. And then the plot thickened…
Peter will be in the front office waiting for you.
drive in the front.
park where the invalid sign is go to the door in front of the sign.
let me know if that works for you
NO, CINDY, your convoluted instructions and “Choose your own adventure” directions don’t work for me! And on top of that, now we’ve thrown Peter into the mix?! Also, by “invalid”, did she mean “not valid” or is that some bizarre archaic way of identifying a parking spot for those with disabilities? Ultimately, I chose to pass on the chairs, because I couldn’t make heads nor tails of this virtual game of Twister. But then, bored because I had no project to work on, I began to wonder what if I HAD gone to get the chairs?…
Me (rings bell nervously): Ooh, this place looks deserted. (rifles through purse) Where’s my bear spray?
Man, presumably Peter (whispers, and for some reason he has a Russian accent): Vat is password?
Me: Ummm… “Let me know if that works for you”?
Peter (nods): You’re here for package?
Me: Well, if you mean the chairs, then yes.
Peter: Deana is waiting in back. You have instructions?
Me: White Bay Door 1, ring bell?
Peter (looks around suspiciously): Quiet pliz! Now go.
Me (rings second bell nervously: Dang, it’s even more sketchy back here. (rifles through purse) Where’s my zombie spray?
Woman, presumably Deana (whispers, and for some reason she has a posh English accent): Good afternoon. May I be of assistance?
Me: Peter sent me back.
Deana: Ah, of course. You’re here for the cocaine?
Me: What?! No, I’m here for a pair of antique chairs!
Deana (blanches and shakes her fist at the sky): Bloody hell, Cindy, will you ever get it right?!
Me: I’ll just be on my way then. (runs quickly to car and drives home very fast).
So no, I still don’t have any antique chairs to paint and re-upholster, and I haven’t slept for days.