A coffee table.

Shorts and LampThe brown leatherette couch was the first item that Jay and I scored. Nothing but Thank-Yous exchanged when we carried it from the previous owner’s apartment while he and his cooing toddler watched. It reeked of stale Camel Lights, but it looked okay-ish and the price was right: the same price as everything else under the “free” tab on Craigslist.

Then we found the armchairs. Five bucks a piece in the way-back “Discount Room” of a thrift store, and they were nice enough for my own living room. I didn’t know whether to be happy to get them for 10 dollars, or concerned about what that said with regard to my personal decorative tastes. I chose happiness.

The floor lamp, 7.99 at Goodwill.  The black shag rug, there in a corner of Adam Craig’s garage, for the taking. And the exotic neon yellow hookah, just a few mouse clicks away on Ebay the week prior.

But it was a damn coffee table that I still didn’t have. The Singlespeed World Championships were 24 hours away, and I still needed a shitty coffee table centerpiece for my “Room With a View” concept.

It was just one of my weird ideas—adding yet another thing to get done in the eleventh hour leading up to this bike “race”—the first race I’d ever helped run. My Girlfriend Tina was amused that I was stressing out about it, while there were so many more pressing things to worry about. But creating this 40 mile race course was my main job for the event. And I wanted it to feel different out there.  Different from all the hundreds of race courses I’d seen before.  So screw it. I’d go shopping alone on Friday morning for an awesome shitty coffee table—and I’d do it for me.

After several dead ends, electronic and real, I finally found a proper table at a Christian Teen Outreach resale place.  $20.99 and an awkward “God Bless you too—uh, dude” to the pimply cashier and I was on my way.

There would be a place out there for people to put their feet up–while they tried to figure out how to work a hookah–after all.

Crisis averted.