If you watch as many home and garden TV shows as I do, you know pink sinks are out of fashion. Colored bathroom fixtures in general are objects of scorn when would-be home buyers tour properties. They are as unwelcome as knotty-pine paneling and flowered wallpaper. Crown moldings, granite countertops, and stainless-steel appliances are de rigueur; everything else "needs updating."
So I really wasn't surprised to see a pink bathroom sink, plunked at the side of Williams Street on my way home from the eye doctor's office. It sat, slightly tilted, near a heap of yellow leaves, as if it were waiting for the bus. There was no "free" sign on it; but that might have blown away in the stiff winds that were swirling the leaves around like hands waving to draw attention to the sink.
So the sink sat, looking forlorn and out-of-place among the carefully manicured lawns along the street. Was it a reject on trash pick-up day? Did it fall from a dump truck or trash skip? Or was it placed there by its former owner in hopes that someone could recycle the sink in a new loving washroom?
Though I have no need of a new or reused sink, seeing it there made me think of the time when pink sinks were in fashion. In the not-so-distant past, bathrooms were color-coordinated, having matching ceramic wall tile and fixtures. Perhaps it was a major breakthrough when sink manufacturers could add color to the product. It was about the same time when kitchens displayed harvest gold or avocado-tinted appliances. Our first home sported harvest gold in the kitchen and a paler shade of yellow in the bath. Now we're back to white sinks in the bathrooms along with everyone else.
How many pink, yellow, and blue sinks have sunk into the muck of local landfills? How many have been repurposed into flower pots, or is that the sole purview of discarded bathtubs? Is there a way to chop up the offensively-colored items, melt them down, and reuse the basic material?
In general, I think we throw too many useful things away. I don't want to become a hoarder, but when I was cleaning out my Mom's apartment I spent a lot of time and energy finding new homes for her belongings. Many things went to family members, friends, or social service agencies. The personal items I have kept and am slowly working my way through them, deciding their fate.
I found a cute turkey-shaped card that one of my sons had sent to her many years ago. I put it on the table in the dining room, so a bit of her presence will be there for the holiday meals. When I am deciding whether to keep or discard an item, I think about how highly my Mom valued it, and I try to honor her evaluation.
One quote on the subject of material possessions always sticks in my head. Oscar Wilde describes a cynic as "a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing." There are millions of cynics in the world today.
Many personal items have an historical or personal value which is greatly beyond their purchase or selling price. I can't put a price on memories or human sensibilities.
I'm sure someone can put a price on a discarded pink sink, however. It might bring a few dollars at a thrift shop or recycling center. Perhaps it is the perfect sink for a little princess's bathroom. Maybe it will find a new home in someone's basement laundry or in a beauty salon which supports breast-cancer awareness. I hope someone rescues it from that leaf pile and sends it on its way to the second stage of its useful life. Long live pink!
Anne Horrigan is a regular Eagle contributor.