The plane that flies back and forth between Regina, Saskatchewan and Minneapolis, Minnesota is roughly the size of a floating school bus, only with wings, more cylindrical, and more cramped. I found myself on this flight a few weeks ago, after having visited some friends in Canada for a few days. Planes always make me uncomfortable, mostly stemming from the social anxiety surrounding the other flyers. Not that I think any of them will, you know, try to stab the pilot with a smuggled knitting needle, but that I might have to speak to them.
On the way to Saskatchewan, I’d sat next to a 60-something year old woman. She was from Austin. Her daughter had moved to Regina to date and then marry a man she met on the internet, who owned a tanning salon. They had two kids and lived in the south end of town and she didn’t like the winters and sort of missed her life in the States but loved her husband and kids and this trip marked the second time she’d see her mother that year and ohwellshewasjustsoexcited.
And according to her, my name is Adam and I’m from Columbus, Ohio and I’m majoring in Biochemistry at Tuft’s University. I don’t like to give too many details, or any.
Talkers scare the shit out of me, but only because I’d never sat next to the gentleman who took the aisle seat to my window on this particular flight. Before he even sat down, I judged him for wearing shorts and flip flops. Because who wears shorts on a plane?
He didn’t speak, but ordered a coke when the flight attendant came around with drinks. I ordered a V8. When she came to collect the cups, I handed mine over, like the responsible citizen of the air that I try to be, but he wanted to keep his.
The flight attendant looked a bit confused for a second, as if something had glitched in her brain. Why did this man want to keep an empty cup on his tray table? What was he up to? But, seeing as he seemed to pose no threat and his demand was simple enough, she went with it.
And that’s when it happened—the concept of “taking advantage” drawn out to its most egregious limit. He pulled out a bag of chewing tobacco, stuffed some in his mouth, and began to chew, periodically shooting a small waterfall of frothy brown spit into his empty clear plastic cup. This went on for at least half an hour, during which time I talked myself down from a panic attack and focused on not crying, trapped as I was in my window seat. Later on, he handed the cup to the flight attendant, who recoiled in fear before recomposing herself and placing it in the open trash bag. This is the danger of a simple gesture of good faith with people you don’t know. You might give them an empty cup, and they might reappropriate it as a spittoon for a while and hand it back to you.
I feel as though I’ve become that man, a little bit. Recently, I got an email from a woman named Maya. You might remember Maya from when Morgan at The Brick House (which, if you’re not already reading, I really have to wonder about your priorities in life) posted about her house a while ago. Let me jog your memory:
Maya is the originator of the $100 rule of decorating and a masterful thrifter. She’s very cool, very artsy, and her style and eye for color is as terrific as her Bumling light is brassy.
You see, when people live on the West Coast and have amazing thrifting around every corner (this is how I imagine California to be now), they accumulate. And Maya had an extra Eames chair. An extra wire Eames chair, broken in several spots, and in need of repair. She had gathered from The Twitter that I had been taking a welding class on the weekends, so she wanted to offer me the broken chair. For free. For rizzle. For frizzle?
Why yes, I will take that original wire Eames chair off you hands, sure!
Maya and I got to talking over email and it turns out that wasn’t the only thing crowding her space. So one thing led to another and she’s become not only a swell pen pal, but also something like the fairy godmother I always dreamed of having. You know, one that has cool furniture that she wants to let me have at very reasonable prices. That’s right, I have a magical furniture fairy.
So first Maya gave me the Eames chair, which has been relegated to the corner of our very unpainted hallway, awaiting the day when I can hopefully repair it.
It’s pretty broken. I think I can save it. But the fun don’t stop there.
Maya was also looking to unload this vintage knock-off Eames lounge chair. Did I know anyone that would want it? For cheapsies?
Me me me!
It’s been a super comfy addition to the living room. It had been sitting in storage for a bit, so I took the whole thing apart and gave it some oily love, following The Brick House’s instructions. It’s not dramatically different, but the plywood shells cleaned up nicely.
What else do you have, Maya? Oh, just these two danish teak shelves that would make great nightstands if they were cleaned up a bit. Want those, too?
Yes, yes I do.
So I got those. A previous owner had put some precautionary L-brackets on them that Maya had intended to take off and restore the wood, but she hadn’t gotten around to it. The structure of the shelves was totally fine, so it’s a bit of a mystery why somebody would abuse two perfectly good, perfectly Scandinavian shelves like that. What’s wrong with people?
I took off the L-brackets and filled the holes with Minwax Wood Filler, then followed Morgan’s wood refreshing tutorial again.
The teak oil and wax totally brought the wood back to life, and the holes filled in nicely and are barely noticeable. I’m pretty smitten with these guys, honestly—having matching nightstands has been a long-held dream of mine and I love the narrow depth these have to offer.
And, of course, I think it’s cute how the two sides look totally different.
Max’s. Isn’t that fan cute? I found it at a little antique store somewhere in Virginia for him during a trip home. The look on his face when he met me at Penn Station—you would have thought I handed him a puppy, or seven. The boy likes fans.
I’m so glad I met Maya. She’s super nice and a great person to bounce ideas off of for the apartment, and we already have a few more goodies from her place lined up to come my way. I really have no business being in her good graces, but I guess as long as she keeps offering without getting sick of me, I’ll keep taking. I’m so good at it. She just has to tell me when she feels like I’m spitting in the cup, as it were.