Sunday, February 1, 2009

our enduring raggedness

Here are the last two paragraphs of Jonathan Franzen's essay, Scavenging. I read this essay today and was excited about a lot of passages-- it was hard to pick what to post. He writes about thrift and the obsolescence of objects in the same way that Solnit writes about the ruins of cities, at one point explicitly stating that, "Obsolescence is our legacy." The following section reflects in a memory in which Franzen and a friend find a decrepit wooden chair, broken and covered in plaster, on the side of the road in New York City:

After years of depression, I didn't care how forgiving of myself I sounded. I said that what mattered to me was the rescue. I could probably afford a new chair; that I prefer to live among the scavenged and reborn is my own private choice.
A sponge bath, a scrap of sturdy ash plywood from a dresser drawer abandoned at the curbside, eight scavenged brass screws to attach the plywood to the underside of the seat, and a black magic marker to mask the splatters of white paint: this is how the chair was rescued.

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