What’s on the table?

Living on a visa in a country I have come to call home, there is always a part of me conscious of the legal definition of home being different than my day-to-day life in my community and social world.  The legal definition that says although I am permitted to be here, I do not really belong.  This makes me shy away from financial/material things unless they are absolutely necessary. Can opener? Fine! Cheap and completely necessary…Table cloths? Okay, because I made them to celebrate otherwise ignored holidays…Large (whether financially or physically large) investments? Questionable!

*My phone number was active for 8 years (I was out of the country for two of those years, not realising I would return!) before I switched from a pay as you go ‘contract’ to an 18 month contract.

*I felt a bit of guilt after purchasing my sewing machine even though it will raise my quality of life.  The weight, importability and UK electric plug add to the nervousness.

Couple that with my tendency to question every purchase and the following scene played out the other week:  On a late weekday afternoon, I headed into the mall to pick up more shampoo. Upon arriving at the mall, I passed the charity shop that sells a decent range of home-goods (where I picked up this food processor last year) and wandered in.  We currently need bookshelves and a table.  All the shelves were more like cabinets so I discounted them, but walked around attentive anyway since I had felt the need to enter.  This need is the one I sometimes feel when there is something waiting for me- an unfocused, open desire to enter and pay attention for a potential surprise. Very different from the compulsion to just purchase *something*.

I commented to my self  ‘okay, let’s go- you don’t need anything. Only bookshelves and tables and they don’t have any’…Which was not strictly true since they had a very large table that was already sold.  After circling the store, my brain finally processed four very sturdy wooden tables in the centre.  Three had a few deep scratches and one had only a light indent.  At about 2 1/2 feet wide it was the perfect size for two of us to eat, or use computers.  It was the perfect price since I had been looking at cheap tables for the same price and this one was way more sturdy. I told myself that it must be the wrong height and tried to prove that by pulling a chair over and testing it out. The test failed and I learned that it was the perfect height.

I called honey to ask her opinion on buying this decently priced yet very heavy table- and she said it was up to me but she wouldn’t be home before the store closed to help me carry it.  Since it was during the work day, I could hardly phone anyone else to come help.  I noticed the sign on the table said to ask about delivery fees but the fact that it would’ve made the table one and a half times its price, I vetoed the idea.

I then stood around trying to psych myself up for carrying the table about 5 blocks uphill.  I thought that perhaps I was pushing things and it wasn’t supposed to be my table, so just get on with it and leave.  Just before I turned away,  a team mate sauntered into the charity shop and started looking at paintings.  I realised then that it was my table.  I said ‘hi’ and he said ‘Oh, are you buying a table?’  I told him I was thinking about it and asked if he had his car- or if he would help me carry it home. Being the awesome and selfless guy that he is, he did.

So now we have a table to sit at when eating, using the computer, doing work and hanging out.  My childhood desk throughout high school was the family’s old large rectangular table but I have never owned a table since then.  Now, I do.  And it feels so adult-like to do so.  But, it’s one investment I am ready for!

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