Sunday, June 12, 2016

Second Hand Therapy

 I need a teapot.

Please don't get too invested in that idea. You will be disappointed.

Still, I need a teapot. Two weeks ago I had a very nice teapot. Well, I had a teapot that fit my very specific requirements. I like whistlers. Don't judge me I just like it when they whistle. I also want a kettle with a lid, which can be a problem. A lot of whistlers on the market these days only have the neck with a tight-fitted cap which facilitates the whistling. The combination of a wide, equally tight-fitted lid and a whistling neck isn't always the easiest thing to find.

But, like I said, up until two weeks ago, I had one of those. It took me a few years to find it. Besides those specifications, it had to have the right look. Simple, clean, classic – it can be a troublesome equation and I'd solved it. Then, my wife, my love and companion of +20 years asked me to move out and, as is her nature, very efficiently organized our divorce.

I take kitchens very seriously. I'll drive a POS vehicle for years and never give it another thought but if a kitchen I'm associated with is out of order in any way, I will not rest until the problem is rectified. So, in packing up my belongings, I could not bring myself to remove the perfect kettle that I'd found for that kitchen, even if it left me without one.

Which brings us back to the frustrating truth that I need a teapot.

This afternoon I stopped in on a local 2nd hand shop to find my teapot. In the meantime, my friend, Beth, was asking me to explain fractions to her. (We can talk about my choice of friends later.) I think I helped but, whether I did or not, I entertained myself by sending her some silly pictures of the stuff I found in the shop. I found a rack stuffed with bad ties and snapped a picture with the caption: All The Ties! There was a basket full of thin vases for $5. My caption for this was: I was hoping for a bag of dicks but a basket of vases will probably work.

I'm clever. My friends are lucky to have me.

There is an extensive collection of old, classy clothes in one section of this shop. I'm not what one would call a classy dresser but I like to slow down and admire the racks when I'm there. There's a wall there with nothing but ladies' hats. It's really stunning. I texted: All The Hats and lifted my phone to get the best angle to capture the amazing array of hats.

Just as I was just about to snap the picture...

Wait, first this. Among the beautiful, generations removed clothing and accessories I spotted the piece I would have to have. It's a heavy, cotton weave messenger bag. It's 70 years old if it's a day. It's busted to hell, worn and shredded on every corner. Still it's well made and despite it's state, there isn't a hole or flaw in it that would challenge it's functionality. As I admired it, I felt something in a side pocket. I stuck a finger in and pulled out a buckeye. How do I not buy that right then, right there?

Well, because my cash on hand was a dollar short, that's how.

Oh, well, I thought, maybe I'll come back later and grab it. Then I saw the hats...

I was ready to snap the picture when, from around the far corner, stepped a woman. At first, I truly believed that I was seeing one of the comically comely mannequins that the proprietors like to scatter throughout the shop. She was slender yet shapely and wore a snug, silk dress that would have been the jewel of the classic, outdated collection in this shop. It was tan, the color of stained pine, with a floral print in reds and greens, slightly and beautifully faded with age.

She was younger than me but I won't venture a guess how much. She had a beautiful smile and so happy eyes. Her skin was the blackest of black, gorgeously threatening to make the exquisite silk dress seem drab.

I never got that perfectly framed picture of the wall of hats.

Instead, after seeing my fellow shopper, I fumbled my phone/camera. It shlooped out of my grasp like a bar of soap. I juggled it for a few moments and finally lost the game as it clattered and broke open in a box of old post cards. The woman glanced at my antics and smiled as I tried to make a joke while gathering the pieces.

Pulling myself together as best I could, I headed for the nearest exit.

After driving a few blocks, I decided two things. First, I must have the buckeye bag. Second, I must offer to make dinner for my new beauty. Never mind, that I'm floppy, grey-haired old white dude with a scruffy beard and inability to speak to humans. It was just the necessary thing.

I found an ATM so I covered the cost of the bag which, I'm pleased to report, is now mine. After buying it, I found her and showed it to her. I showed her how it is so busted and told her how I like that. Then I showed her the buckeye. She didn't understand the significance but was engaged and listened as I told her about it. Then, I told her that I would like to make dinner for her. She was very nice and wisely declined with, “I doubt my boyfriend would appreciate that.”

I laughed – not nervously – and said, “Yeah, I suppose not.”

She smiled, warmly, and told me she appreciated the offer, even adding that it was flattering.

Who knows if there's a boyfriend. It doesn't matter. There's not a version of that scenario where she accepts. There are hundreds of versions of that scenario where I don't ask the breathtaking woman in front of me to spend some time. I rejected them and at no stage of the process did I lose my mind to dumb fright.

I've known my wife since I was 20; we've been together almost as long. To repurpose a line I think I heard in some TV dramedy, we had 21 amazing years in a nearly perfect relationship and then a year and a half suffering through hell together.

At 43 I'm back to single and I wasn't sure how I'd handle it. Thanks to some second hand therapy today, I think I might be okay.