Arrrrg, matey!

Who would have guessed that my daughter’s quest to furnish a new apartment would inadvertently turn me into a porch pirate.

The quest for a new place started a few months ago. Our daughter lives about 40 minutes from us, and it’s nearly an hour drive to and from her classes. And since they are mainly in the evenings, the thought of cutting that drive time in half was appealing. I assume that moving closer to us was a close second?

We began looking at apartments online, narrowing down the ones that she liked and that were affordable. And by “affordable” I mean “affordable.” Such is the life of rental living.

She found a bunch she liked, and my wife and I toured most of them with her. I say “most” because one of us may have missed a tour because Alabama was playing Arkansas at the same time. But I trust their judgment.

Eventually, the perfect apartment was found, and she is set to move in a week or so. She has some stuff to furnish it, but needs some other fundamentals to fill out the decor.

My wife is a member of an online group called Buy Nothing. If you are not familiar with it, it’s a Facebook group unique to your area. You basically give things away on the site. Nothing is for sale. If you have something you are getting rid of, you can post it, and folks can say why they would like to have it. Some posters ask for the best story as to why you should get it. Others do something like ask people to guess a number. It’s a lovely community, and reminds me that social media can actually be pretty swell when we agree to the basic tenet of being a decent human.

Anyhow, my wife had found a couple of items that she said she would like to be considered for, citing our daughter getting a new apartment. The first was a lovely corner shelf that will go nicely into, well, a corner. My son and I went and picked that up off of a porch and it now sits in our garage awaiting installation in her new apartment.

And then the piracy happened. Someone was offering a standing lamp. When my wife was told she could have the lamp, the kind Buy Nothinger messaged her and said she had a few other items that might help our daughter in her new apartment (some towels, silverware, etc.).

My wife gave me the address, and I headed out to get the lamp et al. When I arrived, I saw the lamp and a couple of bags of things on the porch. I got them in my car, headed home, and placed them in the garage, next to their new sibling, the corner shelf.

A few hours later, I was looking for my wife and could not find her. I saw that the door from the laundry room to the garage was open, so I walked outside and saw her there. “Hey…” I said, because I was going to mention something that I have no idea what it is now.

She interrupted, “Hey, did you get some pillows off that porch with the lamp?”

“Uh…I got … the stuff that was there…”

“Yeah, those pillows were from someone else…”

I immediately felt a wave of guilt sweep over me. “I THOUGHT I WAS SUPPOSED TO GET THE EXTRA BAGS!?!?!” I said.

“It’s no big deal,” my wife replied.


“Seriously. It’s not a big deal. We can take them back now, or tomorrow. Whenever is fine.”

“I’LL GO NOW!” I said.

I felt terrible that I had inadvertently taken someone else’s package. I grilled my wife on how the exchange went, and asked her to please explain that it was an accident. I am but a simple errand boy with a very strong desire not to take other people’s things.

She again assured me that I was adding way more drama to a simple misunderstanding. I took the pillows back a short while later, and I am hopeful that that intended recipient has gotten them and is enjoying them immensely. And I hope whoever it is knows that exciting journey their new pillows have been on.

Mike Gibbons was born and raised in Aiken, S.C. A graduate of the University of Alabama, you can e-mail him at or follow him on Twitter @StandardMike.


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