I was on my way home from Pilates tonight, planning my first post on the blog, when I decided to stop at a Goodwill for inspiration. There are about five Goodwills within a few miles of my house; this one is the closest, on Broadway in NE Portland, in a former Barnes and Noble store. It's not the biggest, but I've had really good luck finding outdoor and athletic clothing -- lots of Lucy and Prana and Patagonia -- and the books section, while small, usually has a good selection of contemporary literary fiction. As I parked, I came up with the fifth item in my "Top Five Finds of 08" list, a cashmere cardigan I found last summer. More on that later.
I didn't expect to find anything spectacular -- that would be too much -- but while I was in there I was reminded of why I love this particular Goodwill so much. There's a young man who works there, maybe 25, who cultivates a sort of old-timey politeness with all the customers. "How are you tonight, young fellow?" he asked a young Hispanic kid. "Any travel plans for the holidays?" he asked a middle-aged woman. He often serves as in-house DJ for Goodwill Radio, in which role a few years ago he delivered one of the funniest lines I've ever heard: "That was Michael McDonald, the first bad boy of soft rock, singing 'You're All I Need to Get By.'" I don't know anything about this nerdy hipster with strangely awkward confidence, but I like the way his mind works.
As it turns out, I did score a pretty good find -- a steal, really: a Calphalon griddle, still in the box, for $9.99. The kind that covers two burners. Whoever gave it up never even took it out of the plastic. Of course I have to speculate that it's a leftover wedding gift from a marriage that didn't take. I'm pretty sure I registered for one, and pretty sure that since my ex-husband was the pancake maker I let him have ours when we split up. So maybe this is poetic justice.