Returning to and repeating the very beginning of this tale, I now feel the “My, my.” of my arrival two minutes early at the Albany property... after eating my club sandwich at the Gateway Diner... makes more sense.
“My, my.” stood this property before me ‘Who is here and what do they want?’ ...is next. USUALLY that ratio query is from an unknown-to-I ‘them’ about... I. The vaguely defined action of I ‘walking through’ traditionally leaves all eyes of those ‘there’ on I and... ‘what I do’. As I appear to do very little ...and do that at a quick pace... and then leave... that’s about as far as the ratio query gets. Usually... and IF... there is a direct ratio query from within the ‘them’, a ranking member OF the ‘them’ ‘handles it’.
I... never (?) have to engage that ratio query from my vantage for I am... ‘just looking at the stuff’ and ‘not the people’ and ‘am gone’ VERY SOON. Most of the time. Occasionally I have a ‘two properties’. Rarely ‘three’. When I ‘walk through’ more than one property for an ‘estate’, I usually have repeated contact with a ‘ranking member’ of some sort, usually an executor. We shake hands, smile, exchange pleasantries and ‘I’m gone’. I sort of remember them but do not have to. I remember them more if there is a ratio query that is deflected from I to them. Others there; usually heirs with their entourage, posse, children and/or LAWYERS... I ‘don’t remember’ because ‘that’s not my business (problem) EVEN if they try and make it a ‘my problem’. Usually even that effort; a ‘to be my problem’, is negated when... out of my sight and hearing... a ‘‘Who is here (HE) and what do they (DOES HE) want?” is ...explained... ‘to them’. ‘Explained’ IS a stumbling block in this; two third party perspectives talking about what I’m doing? But I’m ‘not there’ ‘for that’. In fact, almost always what I am doing DOES ‘get explained’ WITHOUT me ever having to ‘engage’. Therefore... I don’t remember the people... just ‘the stuff’.
Except when there is more than one property and the ‘I met them before’ makes repeat appearances usually among others who are ‘there for the first time’. SO... and saying “MY, my.” I went to the door and was greeted ...by the oldest sister (?) executor heir who... we hand shaked, smiled, and ...I was lightly introduced ‘around’ to mostly ‘never seen’ AND a couple of ‘I think they were’ AND a woman who WAS ‘there’ and... ‘there too’... ‘I remember’.
“Sarah” I think her name was... I... ‘caught’. Though it could have been “Sue”. I wasn’t trying to catch ANYTHING. But I... did concisely recall that she was ‘there’ at the coastal mansion and ...was ‘there’ ...at the “CAMP”. And THERE; at the “CAMP”, she had actually followed right along with the executor and I as we ‘did’ the barn and outbuildings. And... she followed my flashlight beam just about everywhere I pointed it... I recalled ... TOO.
“Huh.” I said to myself meaning she ‘made a long trip out here for this’ but actually found out (‘caught’) that the ‘long trip’ for her was UP THERE (to the Maine properties) for she ‘lives around here (Albany area) somewhere’. I ‘caught’.
So meet and greet was over. A couple of men with folded arms and wives in tow were ‘new’ to me but: Off I went... on ‘walk through’. ‘My eyes roaming’ was my out of the slot optimistic cruise status and that... went down hill REAL FAST. HOPING that the first and second visited properties ...and the internal ruminations and spirit chases I had engaged about them... would be the tip-of-iceberg beginnings of an antiquarian sleigh ride to ...grandmother’s house FULL OF ANTIQUES... I... began making go-in-reverse revisions to that RIGHT AWAY and... never altered that.
What I ‘walked through’ was an antiquarian nightmare. I was within in a large, well-to-do ‘quality people’ estate that was ...appropriately... full of ... ... ... whipped vintage WASP ‘we raised five (seven?) children here from 1951 to 1972 SEE ALL THE STUFF IS STILL HERE and THAT IS THE ONLY STUFF ...that’s here. IN TOTAL... including NO ART... NO decorative arts... NO rare books... and EVERY KID’S BEDROOM ‘just the way they left it... AND all the ‘trashed’ furniture and whatever iota in the shared rooms and spaces..., attic, basement, garage... TOO.
In addition to ‘having nothing’ ...the stuff that was nothing was ‘pummeled’. What does that mean? EVERY TV EVER was stuck somewhere, not working, not ‘good’ and not touched in decades except for the ‘newer ones’ that ‘do work’ “but we don’t get cable here”. Like that... but down to the... kitchen utensil drawer still having “ALL MOM USED” including the can opener that opened every can of tomato soup and/or spaghetti-o’s (here used in it’s generic symbolism)... . TOO their credit I heard not a murmur from ANYONE of baby boom ga-ga about ANY OF THIS. As there was no evidence of, for example, a hidden cache ...of each and every lunch box used by each and every kid... I ‘they threw out too’ so ‘what was left’ was ONLY appropriate WASP debris with ‘no hoarding’. The rooms were neat. And ZEROS. The Furniture was neat, clean, shabby and ZEROS. The hoarder stuff was conspicuously not there with only the stupid regular stuffs like ‘fireplace equipment’, book shelves, electric floor lamp, prints in frames of... ‘who cares’, carpeting on the stair’s landing, door mat, cat door, plastic dish rack, family china purchased the same day as the second TV. And both “Made in U.S.A.”. And evermore... with ‘mostly kid’s clothes, a minimal of old shoes, no tools, an old lawn mower, a flower pot or two and... endless children’s bedrooms upstairs... in addition to the... “MASTER BEDROOM”.
That had a chest outside of it in the hallway. It was a 1950’s dark composite veneer hardwood... Chippendale bandy leg style... ‘chest of drawers’. The lines were good, the construction cheesy, the value ZERO. The master bedroom had a ‘their bathroom’ next to it. Next to that bathroom was the ‘children’s bathroom’. These had not been updated since the mid-sixties. The whole house was ...going to be... gutted... to the shell... by ‘anyone’ ‘who buys it’ ...I noted to myself... AS I left the master bedroom and started down the hall way to review the “OUR ROOMS”.
I was rolling. I was going to be out of here in fifteen minutes. I was going to be back in Vermont in an hour. I was going across the hall to the second “SCAN IT” children’s bedroom with the executor and Sarah/Sue in tow. I was ...A... OK. The executor’s cell phone starts ringing. She answers it She excuses herself and walks back up the hallway talking to someone. She has received continual cell phone calls all the time and every time I’ve been around her. I don’t care at all. I continued to the room and do the ‘stand at the doorway’ scan with Sarah/Sue behind me. I cross down the hall to the next bedroom. “This is my bedroom” I hear Sarah/Sue say behind me. I don’t give a rat’s ass whose bedroom it is I’M OUT OF HERE. I step to the door way. I scan.
I slow way, way, way down.
Across the room, hanging on the wall, above a 1960’s high school kid’s metal desk... I see a painting. It is an old painting in an old (plain Victorian) gold frame. The painting is of a moon lighted landscape with a turbulent ‘Starry Night’ type deep, moving and murmuring nocturnal moon within clouds and a Prussian blue star specked universe... above a sea surf motion of moonlighted grasses in the foreground before an in-a-shadow rear view of the back ell of Victorian homestead... with one little window... with one little lamp glow... murmuring out of that window... too.
I believe two things about a painting being good: It should take my breath away when I first see it. And: I should feel the energy of the paint... instantly. These should happen at a ‘normal’ viewing distance. If these do not happen... at a normal viewing distance... I am not viewing a good painting. From my in-the-doorway ‘normal view’ distance, I was viewing a good painting. I KNEW I was viewing a good painting. I was slowing way, way, way down. I was not leaving in fifteen minutes. I was not going to be in Vermont in an hour.
Or actually...: MAY BE I WAS. I mean; the painting wasn’t THAT GOOD.