Christmastime in the Emerald City

{October 25, 2007}   My God, It’s Happening

I…have turned into my grandmother.

My grandmother is awesome. My grandmother will threaten random children with brutal violence if they sass at her. She has intentions to crucify half of her family. She makes homemade Bailey’s that ends up costing more but will cross your fucking eyes. She dyes her hair pink on random days. She wears spandex and goes bicycling everywhere. She knits, and she’s a motherfucking drama queen. She has worked her whole life and has no intentions of slowing down at 80.

She also, however, throughout my entire childhood, lavished me with gifts found in rich people’s trash. She learned this clever skill as a house servant for Jane Eastwood or someone I’ve never heard of but very hoity toity in her day. She actually used to live right in my neighbourhood. That rocking chair I loved when I was three? Found in the trash and glued back together. Nothing wrong with it except it had fallen apart and someone was too lazy to apply a little bit of glue. Paintings, jewellery, books. If you left it on your curb, it was Free Day at the motherfucking French Canadian bazaar that is my grandmothers insane but brilliant mind.

So during the past week, on my frequent trips up and down my street, I passed this small dresser placed out on the curb. 70’s kitch, but functional. My first thought was “my grandmother would totally take that.” I passed it again and thought “actually, that would be really perfect in my living room…my TV table is too low, and I do need more space for shoes and things….oh well.”

It stayed in my mind, however. I began to covet it, think about it every time I left the house. I mean really, where else do you get a four drawer set for free? Craigslist maybe? But that requires effort, haggling, arranging, possible rape. This thing is useful, dammit, and free. And RIGHT THERE, only a block away.

My third time passing it, I thought “Too bad I don’t have any friends around right now to help me carry it.”

My fourth time passing it: “Well, maybe tomorrow I’ll ask Snarky Friend to help me steal it. No,no, it’s America’s Next Top Model night, and she has to walk her dog. She’ll never make a stop here first.”

And really, did I want to turn into my Grandmother? Did I want to be seen dragging other peoples leavings home to furnish my half-painted and rabbit pelleted home?

I went and watched America’s Next Top Model with Snarky Friend. It was a great episode. I went home early, totally sober, which is an accomplishment. I even got off a stop early because I felt like going for a walk in the crisp autumn air.

There it was again. What to do, what to do? Oh my god! It’s garbage night! If I don’t make up my mind, it’ll be gone by tomorrow!!! I wanted it, I WANTED THAT DRESSER. What was I going to do? I couldn’t very well call up one of my friends and ask them to take a streetcar over to my place to help be drag a dresser a block to my door. But how was I going to carry it?

Okay. Okay, okay, okay. I walked past it. I went to my apartment. I took off my scarf, my coat, my shoes. I put my shoes back on. I looked at the cart I use for carrying groceries. Half the size of that dresser. But it had wheels. Okay. This may be disastrous. You are going to have to pass two pizza parlours packed with highschoolers, and you’re going to have to do it twice. Once with an empty cart, once with or without a dresser, depending on my lifting and maneuvering abilities. Can I do this?

Oh wait, that’s right. I’m Emerald. I don’t give a fuck who thinks what about me, and I want that motherfucking dresser. It will look good, and it will be functional, and it is fucking free. I would not be true to myself if I did not take that dresser. Right. Down the stairs.

I walk quickly past the pizza parlours and let someone on a bike pass me before I stop in front of my prize. I’m shaded from the streetlights by a tree. And although, certainly, I don’t care who sees me, I’m really kind of glad to be in the shadows. So I open my cart. It’s half the size of the dresser, right. Okay, so how to lift the dresser onto the cart?

Not. Easily. That’s how. Drawers were falling all over the place, I was being loud and cursing. The people inside the house probably thought I was some homeless woman rummaging through their discarded drawers for crack and cursing at finding none. Really, I’m just a clever home renovator. But I got it up there, I perched this chest of drawers onto my tiny grocery cart. I tilted it back, woah, the whole thing nearly slid out from under my grasp, it’s okay, I got it back.

Okay. So, now we walk – carefully – balancing this furniture on these fragile and already warped wheels, down the block. Down the block of cracked cement, and oddly laid sidewalk foundations where the cracks run parallel to the road, dragging my cart and my furniture towards the toppling oblivion of the curb. Three times I had to stop and readjust my delicate arrangement of weight and pressure points. One of these times was in front of the pizza parlour. But I am Emerald, and I care not what you obviously drunken bastards think of me. Last week at this time, I was lost on the subways. This week I am at least accomplishing something, so fuck you!

At my door. Right. How to get it off the cart? Maybe leaning it slowly forward….and the cart goes flying out from under it, the dresser topples forward, catches itself between me and the doorframe, all the drawers spilling awkwardly half out and jambing, making it impossible to move.

And a lovely couple walks right by me then. Greeeeaaaat. And because this is Toronto, they walk right by me without offering to help. And because I am Torontonian, I am incredibly thankful that they kindly overlooked my existence, my plight, my assfuckery.

Okay, so I position myself in front of the drawers to keep them from falling to the pavement and breaking. That would be a travesty. I kick the cart out from under the dresser, it goes who knows where. The dresser itself is now upright, in front of my door. Awesome. This is doable. I take out the drawers, one by one, and cart them up my five flights of incredibly narrow, steep, and puke-pink fuschia stairs. Then I bring up the cart. Then, oh then, with my shoulder in the crevice of the dresser where a drawer had only so recently been, and my other hand staggering under the almost-too-far-to-reach bottom, the stairwell not wide enough for both of us, I shimmy, sideways, up a stairwell with less maneuvering room than a bathroom stall.

I got that fucker up the stairs. I probably woke everybody up crashing into their bedroom walls on my way up. But fuck them. I have a new dresser, and it’s awesome, and it was free.

My grandmother would be so proud.


damn this is long. i’ll have to read it later.

I did see your comment about only allowing attractive guys to slap your ass though. that is LOW. but i’m also attractive, so lets make a date.

❤ thatpessimist

greenmetropolis says:

Hey Pessimist, unless your in Toronto with the rest of us, you’re shit out of luck for slapping this ass 😛

joebec says:

I Loved this story, and i’ll tell you what, I would have helped you carry that fucking thing upstair. damn skippy i would have!

Josh says:

I’m with Joebec. See, I’m a southern man, proud to be one. And down here in the south we help a lady if she needs it. If you had walked past a pizza joint in my town, struggling with a big ass dresser on a little cart, some guy or group of guys would have offered to help. Probably insisted. And for sure if any southern men had seen you stuck trying to hold up the dresser in the door way you would have not even been allowed to help him carry that shit up for you. I just don’t get you yankees.

Of course, pretty much only ladies get that sort of treatment. The guys can go to hell for all I care, take care of your own shit. Unless they look like they really really need help, then I’d help. But mostly, it’s just the right way to treat a lady.

Rock on girl! I’m all about the free things in life. Who cares what people think…you got yourself a killer deal!

talea says:

One, I would like to out myself as Snarky Friend. Cuz I like attention. Yeah, that’s right. I’m Snarky Friend! And I love being mentioned!
Two, Josh…..clearly, you’ve never been to Toronto. You have Southern charm, we have totally ignoring one another. It’s our charm, and I love it. I LOVE that we all ignore each other. But it’s nice that you would help, but I’d probably say no.
Three……Em, how in the fuck did you get that thing up your staircase???? Folks, I know none of you have seen her staircase, but I’m her bestest bud and let me tell you, that staircase is hard enough to navigate on your own, let alone carrying a purse, let alone carrying an ill-gotten 70s kitch DRESSER. Kudos to you Emerald, kudos.
I do believe this was my favourite post you’ve ever written. And btw, it’s because it’s sort of reminiscent of my step by step as it was happening writing. I’m proud.
I lub you.

greenmetropolis says:

@ joebec. I heart you for saying skippy.
@ cowgalutah: you got the right idea. as I get older, I realize my grandmother is right about EVERYTHING.
@ josh. A group of sexy southern men with SEXY SOUTHERN ACCENTS would totally have been my dream. But a sassy little couple? No thanks, need to acknowledge my assfuckery on your way back to your lexus. Or greenmobile, whichever.
@ talea. I LUB YOU TOO! I LUB YOU LIKE A RACCOON LUBS SHINY THINGS!!!! It was NOT EASY getting that fucker up the stairs. Remember trying to get that bed you made me up the stairs? Jesus Christ.

I’m not from the south….I’m from the North and when we see people needing help we usually just crowd around and watch…Which is what I would have done…(don’t hate me yet) I would have offered you a beer though… 🙂

Paul B. says:

Assfuckery?!!! What a great word.. And like what the fuck are you doing picking up loose shit from the sidewalk like Hugh Grant on a hot date in Hollywood? Like helloo?

You seriously need an ass slapping.. you work in an office full of nice crap that you could borrow for a year or two or until it breaks and then you bring it back.

Don’t be grabbing shit on the street like a zoomed out hobo looking for his next cheeseburger wrapper to lick.

romi41 says:

“I mean really, where else do you get a four drawer set for free? Craigslist maybe? But that requires effort, haggling, arranging, possible rape.”

Haha…I love you for taking it to the next level 🙂

And yo: I grew up with brown people (a.k.a. my family), and we lived off of getting ourselves free shit in that hobo-kind of way 😉

To Paul: even though you anger me half the time, that Hugh Grant comment made me roll over like some “loose shit from the sidewalk” (except “roll over” with laughter, not whorishness…)…seriously, all I can think of right now is Hugh Grant’s whore “Divine Brown”, and why the fuck do I still remember her name? I’m gonna be sick….

greenmetropolis says:

@ King Steve: I would have appreciated the beer more than the helping. Because I’m totally all “I CAN DO IT MYSELF, GODDAMMIT! Oooh, alcohol, that’s so sweet of you.”
@ Paul: fuck off, I got a sweet ass dresser, it was totally free, it was way easier to cart home than dragging any of the shit around my office (which is not that nice, by the way) AND I got a great story out of it.
@ Romi: I’m glad you see it my way! It’s not like I drag home pissy smelling couches, this thing is just a little tacky. But in my place, it works.

Now that I have a digital camera, I’m totally going to be posting images of the awesome dresser, my awesome apartment, and my hideous stairwell.

Paul B. says:

Haha.. you are one mean assed bitch but that’s ok because you are Canadian and I mean hey look at Romi.

Did you check your dresser for any blood soaked knives taped under the drawers or maybe Freddie Krügers head tucked away in the back?

greenmetropolis says:

I have a camera, and as soon as I find my fucking upload cable, you will all see the perils of my stairwell and my sweetass dresser!

[…] Christmastime in the Emerald City {November 16, 2007}   Some Pictures to Fully Embellish My Awesome Strength and Agility Hey, remember when I told the story about dragging a dresser home from someone’s curb and lugging it up the stairs? […]

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