Friday, May 28, 2010

Did I Mention I Was White and He Was Black? I Gave a Black Man Butterflies Today.

Just got back from the thrift store.

If this keeps up I might break my agoraphobic tendencies.

Last month and the one before it was pretty much only leaving the house for doctor appointments and during panic attacks to the hospital.

I think I've gone to three different thrift stores in a week. Yay pseudo-competency!

It's been a good week and it just made me remember my own most important rule for thrifting: MIDWEEK DAYS ARE THE BEST. You would think Mondays would be very good too but they put the stuff out pretty continuously and only full time antique shop owners and EBAYers can afford to be there then to get the first crack. Most of them have other jobs so they get in later. Midweek mornings is the best.

Well, I don't believe that really as at some stores they just put the stuff out continuously and it's a total crap shoot. When I found the pretty Artigau last night it was an hour before closing time and I'm sure it had just come out in the last fifteen minutes along with the other art. Somebody who had some decent stuff had probably died and either no one discerning went through his or her things and just gave it away, or else the family was so rich they didn't really care, didn't want to be bothered with the few hundred dollars these items would fetch on the market. Maybe that's not even pocket change to them. Maybe they hated even touching the art. Maybe it reminded them of the dead person and they hate(d) the dead person. I can imagine all these scenarios and many more. They mysteries of thrift shops.

Today I gave one of my best items away. Dammit! Giving hurts. I'm sure I'll forget about it soon but it smarts a little now. But I knew it was the right thing to do.

Somebody donated a shitload of those faux-Victorian butterfly collections (you know--terrariums of the dead--insectaria, whatever they're called). Most were cheesy but there was one gorgeous one that had about nine specimens (the Muses!?!) on little columns under a big bell jar. And there was a gorge BLUE MORPHO and a bunch of other iridescent ones. It was $1.99.

I snared that and a few others that weren't nearly as pretty (and usually had only one butterfly per case).

Anyway, I'm being nice and packing my own things at the front of the store (to let the cashier get on with the next person---see how nice I am?) and this black guy (did I mention I am white? Did I mention he is black and I am white?) came over and asked if he could see it. So I got that "oh no moral quandary" feeling.

He touched me on the arm in this gentle way (which made me completely uncomfortable as I'm germphobic...no it had nothing to do with him being black) and said his wife loves this sort of thing. She was standing right behind him pretending not to notice what he was doing (feeling abashed--but I could tell she wanted my butterflies). He apologized for intruding, saying he thought I worked there and was loading the stuff in the box to put it out on the floor. So I disabused him of that notion and I said, "When someone admires something in my cart, I usually give it to them, but I do have a collection of these so I don't really want to give it up."

I didn't know it at the time, but I guess that was a test to see if he "turned" when he didn't get what he wanted.

But he didn't. He was a perfect gentleman (did I mention he was black and I am white? I just called him a gentleman because he's black and he was a gentleman. Oh my god, that's racist talk. That's what cops say when they're arresting a black dude..."this gentleman..."

So I got to the front of the store and was prepared to go out the door and turned around and went back and gave it to him (free of charge--would have been classless to say...you can buy it for what I paid...all two dollars)....and I could see his wife's eyes light up so the mission was accomplished.

And now I can go to Heaven.

I'm ready.

Where's the elevator?

Did I mention it was a poor black man and I, a poor white man, showed largesse.

Where's an apostle to write a book about you when you need one?

And no, I wouldn't "do" him.

But I can go around telling people "I gave a black man butterflies today."

That should be fun to say.

I wanted to take pics of all the cool shit I found today but Lee's sleeping in the room with the digicam and I dare not wake the employed.

Here's a quick run down: a really cute silver Godinger clock that goes perfectly on my second floor foyer table, a Moroccan looking Godinger silver vessel lined with red velvet...very pretty intricate metalworking on this. Godinger produces crap and then Godinger produces some beautiful items. These two I found today are nice.

An inlay piece, a landscape with maternal elephants and baby or babies worked in faux-ivory (let's hope it's faux!) and some blonde exotic woods used for the landscape in the darker wood panel.

A Moroccan? trinket box evocative of a scarab with a gorgeous enamel cover that looks like a little Matisse painting--one of his more abstract ones.

Lots of cute vintage Halloween items and a totally gay elf boy from the fifties lying down supporting himself on his elbows in a "dreamy" state. He looks like an extra from Mark Morris's Nutcracker.

A Japanese doll in a mirror box (vintage) with a samisen.

They had some newer ones too in mirror boxes but I preferred this old one. Great creepy eyes. You know how those dolls often have the creepiest eyes...look real.

Oh, a bunch of other stuff. I forget already. I went redecorating around the house having an idiotic good time for a half hour.

But the books were also pretty good today.

This is the first time EVER in my life I have found an Eileen Myles book in a thrift store. And I wanted this one, so woot.

Here's the list though I really wanted to give you a digicam photo to show you the great covers of some of these books....there was also a kid's book of pop-ups teaching young squires how to become knights...it's one of those busy books with correspondence secreted in it, maps, castle doors that lift up their portculises, etc....cute...

THE BLOODLESS REVOLUTION (ENGLAND, 1688)
Gorgeous cover art on this vintage paperback in mint condition.
STUART PRALL


UNSPEAKABLE ACTS
SIMON BOND
Cartoons by the guy notorious for his 101 USES FOR A DEAD CAT.
The sense of humor is pretty nasty in here too.
I'll have to scan a couple in. He should probably place these in porn mags since some of them are funny but in pretty poor taste.

NOCTURNES
JOHN CONNOLLY
Don't know the guy, but I like ghost stories and he seems to be getting a good rep, so I'll give these a try.

LETTERS FROM MY FRIEND TEILHARD DE CHARDIN
PIERRE LEROY
Let's talk about the Noosphere!

WORDS AND RULES
STEVEN PINKER
It's fun to read playful books about linguistics.

THE LITTLE WOMEN
KATHERINE WEBER
The story is "updated" for today's horrible world. Got rave reviews. Might be worth the read.

THE HIDDEN WORLD OF BIRTHDAYS
JUDITH TURNER
I'm not into that ass-trology crap, but this author gives such detailed info for birthdays and such wonderfully intricate personal affiliations, liabilities, affinities, mascots, etc., for each birthday, that I had to pick it up.

TELL ME YOUR BIRTHDAY AND I'LL GIVE YOU THE SKINNY IN THIS BOOK. JUST LEAVE IT IN THE COMMENTS HERE. YOU'LL BE SURPRISED AT HOW DETAILED HER READING IS.

Hey, did I mention that guy was black. And I'm white. And I gave him something.

NIGEL NICHOLSON
PORTRAIT OF A MARRIAGE
VITA SACKVILLE-WEST (LOVER OF VIRGINIA WOOLF) AND HAROLD NICHOLSON

Makes the case that heterosexual marriages between gay people where the partners sleep with members of their own sex is the ideal situation.

For some reason, I think I will hear the Gogos singing "VACATION!" the entire time I'm reading this book.

COOL FOR YOU, A NOVEL
EILEEN MYLES

I've never met an Eileen Myles I didn't like.


GENERATION X

DOUGLAS COUPLAND

I guess it's about time I read this piece of crap, ay?

He does some funny stuff up there in Canada now with his house...turning it into a kitschy sort of museum. Did you see that funny documentary?

My only problem with Doug is that he's about one step away from being Garrison Keillor.


PHOTOCRAFT

One of those "homo design books."

I think that's the review from the New York Times.


If you see any black men today, see if you can give them butterflies.

I bet you can't.

But I did.

And I didn't even have to shake my ass.

I should have turned and said in a good imitation of Charles Bukowski, "What the fuck does a black man need butterflies for?"

That could have gone either way though, right?

Iffy.

I mean if he didn't know I was joking.

But I guess I can live dangerously in my own home. I'm bipolar.

So no need for any of that.

4 comments:

  1. Awwww! You sweetheart! When I read the title I thought you'd been putting the moves on some black dude (that's my m.o. btw--so no stealing my mojo!).

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  2. Hiya cutie.

    Yeah, Heaven has been nice to me a few times lately, cut me some breaks (the car didn't act up at all today--i'm holding my breath).

    So I figured I had better "pay it forward."

    Even if it's butterflies.

    When I handed it to him, I didn't know what to say so I said "I'm just hoping they all died of natural causes."

    It got a laugh, and worked to make the potentially awkward moment pass as I spun around on my heels and left before I got the urge to snatch it back.

    I kept thinking...they're probably angels...when they get to the parking lot they'll evaporate heavewards and there will be the butterfly display case...

    So, since I passed the test, I can go back and pick up the box.

    I'm so low in heaven's eyes they won't even hand me the Webelo handbook yet...and I think that's the one most five year old heavenly aspirants study.

    I aspire only to be a Webelo in Heaven.

    Right now I'm more a Weeble-Wobble (morally I mean).

    I'll leave you an open field on the black guys.

    But don't hate me if I sing that song from Hair..."Black boys are delicious..."

    That was only so damn funny because you can just imagine all the crusty old white dads having coronaries when that musical came out...

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  3. haha! I've moved back home, so I'm getting out of the house more just for the sake of it. I've met some angels lately out there in the real world, too. Or maybe they could say the same about me??? Maybe you were their angel o' the day! ::Hugs::

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  4. Beware of angels that have zippers, dear.

    Real angels don't have zippers anywhere on them.

    Or buttons.

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