When I walk down the back stairs of my apt. complex, I can look out into the alley and the backyards of houses from the next street over. A few days ago, I noticed a table lying in the alley. Austin only allows you to put out bulk items twice a year (rather than every week, like Weehawken), so this wasn't trash; I assumed that maybe someone had been moving and this fell off their truck or something, and they'd be back to get it later.
Today, on the way to the trusty beer store, I saw that the table was still there! I immediately speed-walked around the block to the alley (no short-cut through the fence; speed-walking because I was sure someone would come and grab it in the next 30 seconds if I didn't get there first) and tried to carry it home...I was able to walk about 10 steps before I had to put it down and rest. I did that maybe 3 times, then realized there was no way that was going to work. There are occasionally homeless guys-n-gals walking around the area, so I thought hopefully, "Maybe one'll show up right this second and I can give him my beer money to help carry this..." But did I really want a homeless guy knowing where my apartment was? (Not that one even showed up, despite my magical thinking.) So I did the next best thing: Ran home and called my mom. She's 70, with a nice car that this table probably wouldn't fit in, but... I HAD TO HAVE THIS TABLE!
Luckily she was game, and came RIGHT OVER before someone else could grab it! After much huffing and puffing, we managed to wedge it into her trunk and get it up my stairs. (I was nervous the whole time; even though it had been lying outside in an alley for 3 days, I still felt like I was somehow stealing it...)
I love this thing; nice, solid wood. For now kind of stuck in a corner with knick-knacks on it, but a good little kitchen table in the future... (Oh shit. I just thought of something. Last year I saw a reality show called "Hauntings" or something where a family picked up a piano off a curb (after reading a Craig's List ad offering it for free) and took it home... Within days, things in their house started going very, very wrong... When the show's psychics contacted the family who had initially gotten rid of it, they were reluctant to talk but finally admitted that it had given them the creeps and they just wanted it OUT of their house!)
Well, I guess I'll know soon enough if I have a haunted table! :) (Seems, though, that an 80-year-old piano is a much more evocative place for spirits to cling to than a circa-2002 table...)