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Originally Posted: 2005-06-01 20:44

Italian brown leather sofa - tale of self-discovery - PIC

I will tell you about the sofa. But first, before you can really understand what I have to say about it, you must know its story. Only then will you be able to truly comprehend this post and what I am offering you.

A little over a year ago, I left the wilderness (Atlanta) to seek fortune and adventure deep in the heart of the machines and electric light (New York). The company that brought me here saw fit to lodge me at a hotel in Times Square until I could find a proper place to live. While it was certainty a kind gesture on their part, I despised having to fight my way through a sea of people every moment I stepped outside of the hotel. Weekend after weekend flew by as I inspected an array of no-fee apartments and sublets without satisfaction. There seem to be a lot of brokers stalking the no-fee apartment ads. Eventually their promises of recently renovated buildings and twelve foot ceilings won me over.

The broker broke me. Backyards, commanding views, clean hallways, landlords that were large, impersonal corporations instead of sleazy, hustling, impersonal people. It's surprising how much difference 15% of one year's rent in one of the most expensive cities in the world makes. Actually it isn't really. I'm sure if I had kept looking on craigslist no-fees I would have found something eventually. It wouldn't have mattered if the handrail in the staircase looked like it was sixty years old and would break if the grandmother who has been living in the same rent-controlled apartment there for most of her life leaned on it. In fact, things like that really have their own charm to them. It was too late though. I had tasted the forbidden fruit and could not ignore its flavor. I signed the lease in one of the buildings the broker showed me.

I signed checks too. There was a security deposit, the first month's rent, even the fee for a credit report on myself. Although that was the least expensive fee, it upset me the most. The landlord will be getting more of my paycheck than anyone else this year. If they really feel the need to ensure that I didn't try to buy a yacht while I was unemployed or something, can't they pay for it themselves? But I digress. This is a story about a sofa, which brings me to the next check. The broker fee.

While I was paying off the broker fee my furniture consisted of a mattress on the floor and a cardboard air conditioner box (although at the time I called it a table). Finally I dug myself out of my moving-to-New-York hole and could afford real furniture. I walked into a furniture store down the street and immediately purchased the first thing I saw that I thought looked good. The salesman was surprised with my lack of deliberation or questions. I probably spent a total of ten minutes in there. The hungrier you are the less time you take to look at the menu.

The next week when the delivery service rang my buzzer I was elated. Leaping out of bed (my only non-cardboard furniture) I rushed downstairs to assist the sofabringers in transporting their cargo to my living room. Everything was going great. They were on-time. The whole thing actually fit in the elevator, so we didn't even need to get stairs involved.

It could not be brought into my apartment. There's a corner right in front of my doorway and, as I was lectured by the delivery expert, nothing taller than the door frame can actually be fit through that space into the living room. I felt like Moses gazing upon the promised land that he could never enter. I watched sullenly as my new couch disappeared from my life just as quickly as it had entered it.

I called the furniture company back and told them to give me something that would fit into my apartment as soon as possible. I was told that they could send the loveseat version of the design I had selected. In order to resolve things as quickly as possible and to avoid having to go shopping again, I agreed. And here it sits, one year later, in my living room as I type this. It's a little too small, but other than that, it has served me well for the past year.

It is made of immaculate dark brown leather. There are no stains and no scratches. The sewing is perfect; I can't even see any broken stitches. It was made in Italy, which explains why it came with a booklet is in Italian that talks about the manufacturer's devotion to the art of furniture craft. (I cannot read Italian, I'm just guessing.) The English part says that there is a five-year warranty on the couch. Brown leather may sound too traditional, but it's actually fairly modern without being garishly minimal like Ikea. There are no pets in my apartment. No one has smoked cigarettes in the same room as it. It is 65 inches wide and 37 inches deep. The company that makes it has a very nice looking website ( And of course, it is incredibly comfortable. It cost me $1,000. I am selling it for half of that.

It is by far the nicest piece of furniture I've ever owned. Along with it being too small for the wall it is against, this is why I'm getting rid of it. Just look at the photos. My idea of decoration is a map of Amsterdam scotch taped to the wall. I have empty water bottles on the floor from when I stumble in drunk at five in the morning and try in vain to hydrate before passing out. I don't want to worry about people staining it or scraping it or vomiting on it or whatever other horrible fates could befall it. Also, I am sick of people commenting on how nice it is. I'm starting to think people come over to hang out with the couch and not me. At the last apartment I lived at my furniture consisted of a folding table, a mattress (with duct tape on it) on the floor, a lamp and a bookshelf. I thought I could handle the transition to the world of modern Italian designer furniture and broker fees but I was wrong. Its replacement will most likely be a futon that will cost a fraction of the price.

Do you know how to critique a wine list properly? Do you have a watch that can blind everyone else on the block with its sheen? Are your jeans carefully treated to make it look like you found them in a collapsed coal mine and just decided to start wearing them? Do you go to vacations on small islands in the Mediterranean that you can't even find on maps? Or maybe your wife is just bothering you to replace the torn cloth sofa in the corner that you've had since college. If you answered yes to any of these questions, this sophisticated Italian leather sofa may be right for you. Please take it off of my hands.

At 14th street a couple minutes east of Union Square. Payment in cash only. I will not help you move it beyond my building's entrance, which is pretty easy since it fits in the elevator.

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