I’ve been trying to find the perfect winter coat. To give away, that is. An organization here in New York hosts an annual coat drive for the homeless every year, though I’m sure there’s something like it in everyone’s hometown: drop off your cast-offs at a firehouse, a store, a church. Our local event is accompanied by very effective public service ads on TV showing a shivering, huddled Statue of Liberty. Sends the same message to everyone, I suppose. These ads have been running for years, and yet I had never even opened my closet door.
So this year, I did take a look, and found a terrific fake shearling that was, as requested, gently used. I bought it several years ago, gained a bunch of weight, and of course saved it for that fictional time in the future when I was thin again. And it was warm; too warm. Way too hot to wear in a movie theater or a mall, but not if you lived on the street. So I Googled my closest drop-off spot, and off I went.
The store that served as the drop-off point wasn’t open, and that seemed karmic: the instructions did say “freshly laundered.” Miraculously, there was a dry cleaner next door, so I asked the proprietor if he would just wash and dry the coat and bring it over. He inspected it for about 14 minutes, and then said “$20,” which I’m pretty sure is highway robbery. I’m also not sure he wasn’t just inspecting it to bring home to his daughter. Later on, I realized I should have asked him to donate the laundering costs. Dang. Clearly I still need some One Good Deed practice.
I’m trying not to think about the twenty bucks, but when I figure I haven’t even worn it in over eight years, I’m prepared to call it a $2.50 a year storage fee. In my own closet.
But I felt great being able to give away something that was still in such good shape and would help someone else so much. Plus, it’s the only time ever I’ve gotten something that positive out of eating too much.
Keep someone warm.