I finally made it over to Community Forklift, the recycled building material warehouse on the edge of Hyattsville, MD. I only learned about it six months ago, but I’ve wanted to visit every day since then. So when I finally printed off directions, finally got Loren in the car, and finally started driving their way, I was downright giddy with anticipation.
The place did not disappoint. For starters, it’s just barely over the state line into Maryland. The drive over took about 15 minutes [kick’s self in pants for delaying so long, when the trip was so easy]. In DC terms, it’s just a few minutes past Catholic University. When I arrived I was actually surprised by its size. The place is huge, but it doesn’t look it from the outside.
Walking around to the side door I passed a man in a suit driving a forklift. I didn’t get a picture of this, which I regret. But there he was zipping that thing around, buttoned up, wearing a tie and coat. In a lot of ways this is how I picture myself: handyman/lawyer, seamlessly transitioning from one task to the next. Surely he hopped down from that forklift only to fill out a client’s greencard paperwork. He’s like Superman, but instead of changing his clothes to assume his alter-ego he grabs a different tool. Laptop for lawyering, forklift for building. His drycleaner must love him.
At the end of the day he can wash away the stress with an ice cold Bud, or an up Martini. Don’t bother labeling him, or he’ll karate chop you in the face, then take an artsy picture of it and save it for scrap-booking later.
After I was done projecting my id onto this guy I finally stepped inside. I definitely had that kid-in-a-candy-store feeling as I walked from aisle to aisle, getting turned around here and there, stopping to snap pictures (which was a little tricky in that dim warehouse lighting), begging Loren to chill out so I could take-in the full experience. As I walked the aisles I realized I’d been thinking the lyrics to the Little Mermaid: “I’ve got gadgets and gizmos aplenty; I’ve got whozits and whatzits galore! You want thingy-ma-bobs? I’ve got twenty.” Oh the treasures this one cavern did hold.
Antique stoves and washers, hinges and drawer pulls for a dollar a piece, re-used wood flooring, a million turned chair legs just begging for a project. Scraps of marble counter-tops, light fixtures, antique tools, and rusted claw-feet for tubs that could really be something with a little TLC.
And still Loren fussed. He’d had enough. My bubble burst, my creativity stymied, I couldn’t long focus enough to figure out what to buy. So back out to the car we went, and then home we drove, empty-handed.
I couldn’t believe my restraint. Surely I could have bought something on impulse as we were on the way out. Normally I’d probably do that. But this fits with our larger effort of shopping often while buying infrequently as a means of both saving money and finding exactly what we want. No more buying crap because you came-all-this-way-well-we-just-have-to-buy-something. No. It is perfectly acceptable to leave a store without purchasing something. No pressure.
We’ll be back soon, Community Forklift. Just you wait. Those used-shutters you’re selling at 50% off right now will be baby gates at Camp Davis in no time. Mark my words.by