Thursday, August 28, 2014

Cowboy Down - A Conversation Between Two Professional Thrift Shoppers - Part Four - "It's Crap Your Crap"

Cowboy Down

A Conversation Between Two Professional Thrift Shoppers

Part Four

"It's Crap.  Your Crap"

            “Well... you’re the one who thinks our relationship is weird.  I just think it’s special.”
            “When your over in the corner of the (thrift) store coaching that Neanderthal on some junk platter... I don’t call that special.”
            “But you have to extend the history of the relationship AND where we are.  SF and I would never ever even NOTICE each other in the real world yet here, in the thrift store setting, we’ve actually become... what I guess I’d call ‘thrift shop friends’.”
            “So tell us the story.”
            “Well... one day... SF was just THERE in front of me blocking the bric-brac with his butt and I was, like,  ‘GET AWAY FROM ME YOU CREEP’.
            “And, ok, he’s there dressed as usual.”
            “Yeah, yeah.  Cargo shorts.  Combat boots.  Black kill, kill, kill logo tee shirt.  Dirty ball cap.  His arms and legs are all tattooed.  He’s huge.  He’s dirty.  I mean:  YUCK.”
            “And he won’t move.”
            “So you go away.”
            “I didn’t have a choice.”
            “So after he leaves you go back to bric-brac.”
            “But from then on you start to see SF in the thrift stores all the time.”

            “Yeah... I, like, SEE him.”
            “So you watch him.”
            “And he drives this big black pickup truck.”
            “Right.  I see that right away.  It’s big with the big tires and painted flat black and has his yellow ‘don’t tread on me’ plastic license plate on the front.  I mean:  Yuck.”
            “So next you...”
            “Well FIRST I start calling him ‘SF’.  That’s because when I go to the thrift stores and am parking I see his truck there already.  So I start calling him SF.”
            “And that means?
            “Special Forces.  I figure he’s, like, a MILITARY guy.  You know:  Having trouble readjusting to the real world while also still being like a little BOY playing with his TRUCK under the Christmas tree.  You know.  Video games.  Frozen pizza.  LIKE: what woman is gonna marry THAT.”
            “But, ah, you realize he’s actually trying to buy things to resell.”
            “YES!  He’s like buying CD’s and radios and that crap.  But I notice that because, well, of the way he IS and that I notice ANYONE who is doing anything (actively buying) in the thrifts.  I mean; he was actually going at it (looking to buy stuff).”
            “So you call him SF and he starts being in, like, bric-brac when your there more and more.”
            “Yes.  And I’m like... ‘get away from me; go over to the radios’.”

            “And he isn’t noticing you.”
            “Right.  I guess.”
            “But you notice he’s looking for art.”
            “Yes.  And.  I mean.  I’m a sucker for that show.  I can’t resist watching.  I know; you just blow ‘em off but I find it really interesting.  I mean... here’s this giant tattooed pile of dog poop butt blocking me while he looks at a crummy painting.  Like he holds it up to his face to see if it’s signed.  I mean... it a HOOT.  So I start watching him.  It’s obvious he knows nothing about art.  But it’s also obvious somehow he’s found out he thinks he can SELL art.  So... I mean... COME ON:  SHOW ME.”
            “And then he figures out your watching.”
            “Yeah.  I think he’d seen me but because I wasn’t bleach blond, spiked heals and tattooed he just dismissed me.  I’d be, like, his mother’s age.  I figure either his mother dresses like that too or has disowned him.  He’s in the ‘buy him a bar of soap’ group so I think his chooses his own wardrobe.”
            “You’ve mentioned that to him.”
            “Well... mention; that doesn’t do any good.  He’s still, like, thinks I’m weird because I don’t dress like him.  Ha, ha.  I mean really.
            “Ok so what happened.”

            “Well I’m just there around him and he doesn’t really bother me because he doesn’t BUY anything good so big deal but then he starts, like, looking at what I’m buying.  And anyway, when I do that, I’m like in and out real fast; grab and go.  You know; it’s there, I buy it.  It takes two seconds.  And he’s standing there the whole time.”
            “So he sees you and figures out you’re a dealer buying to sell?”
            “No.  I don’t think that.  I think he saw the stuff I bought and, since he was looking at the stuff and, like, may have looked at something I bought, he started to notice me.”
            “So he asks you what your doing?”
            “Well.... I took a plate off the shelf next to him.  I mean; it was right next to him.  So he says.  Well... he sort burps out... something about the plate and then says ‘you know what that is?’  I’m like, of course I know what it is but I just say ‘red transfer ware’ and he’s, like, ‘that plate?’.  And I’m, like, ‘yeah the plate is 1850’s antique English Staffordshire red transfer ware Adams 'Chess Players' pattern see it says so on the back’ and he just stands there and then says ‘that’s an antique really’.  I go ‘no.  I’m pretending it is.’  He just looks at me.  I figure I’m the first woman who ever sassed him.  Then I say ‘of course it’s a real antique everyone knows that.   I’m gonna sell it for forty-five dollars.  Maybe sixty-five’.  He just stands there.  So I say ‘go change your shorts.  You just filled ‘em with shit’.  That’s how we started talking.  He never got over it.  He still talks about that plate.  I’m, like, I SOLD the damn plate two years ago get over it.  You know how many plates that crap pile has showed me since then.”

            “Ok, ok:  We have to make an adjustment here.  We’re gonna loose the reader.  Two things are happening here from your perspective.  The first one is easy to understand.  You go in the thrift store and clear off  (buy) any antique you find.  You do that fast, scanning everything, touching very little or nothing at all except what you buy, scanning the whole thrift shop space briskly with all the people in it including SF and quickly taking your loot through check out politely paying exact cash and are gone on to the next thrift shop.  Right?
            “So the second thing happening there is SF and your passing interactions with people like him.”
            “And those are... what do we call it...:  Professionally social people.  You courteous-chat, with anyone you ‘thrift shop know’ as you move along your streamlined professional visits to each thrift store.”
            “Yes.  That’s continual.  You never know who your gonna meet or see in a thrift store.”
            “Right.  And that’s the second thing.  That; the people and your interactions with them.  Including SF but most contacts are much more minor path crossings.”
            “Yes.  To me it’s (these social contacts) a big part of my day; all the different people in the thrift shop setting.  It’s (the thrift shop store space) sort of the STAGE for that.  And it’s filled with impromptu actors acting.  Acting out their lives really.  Right in front of you.”
            “And that has nothing to do with the antiques.  Your just like ‘over there’ buying them.  Anyway.  I mean; your there for THAT and get that job done quickly, easily and with no competition.  But the PEOPLE catch your eye.”

            “More than catch my eye.  It’s really the whole world right there in those little spaces going at it over pairs of old used shoes.  I mean:  You can’t buy that.  It’s just raw.  It’s great.  NOTHING is anything EXCEPT pure humanity.  There isn’t even ART and I’M the one there buying all the art anyway and nobody cares.  It’s the real thing.  I buy a painting and the other people think I some sort of idiot old woman.”
            “But you really like the social realm.”
            “Oh yes.  That’s what really makes the whole thrift shop scene for me.  That’s what made it WHY I don’t go anywhere else.  It’s total surround in there.  Bleeding right in front of me live.  Very pure.  The jargon.  The utterances.  Pure human expressions all over the place.  You can’t buy those there and take ‘em home.  Oh you can think about it later; you saw that.  Heard that.  But... you can’t buy it and take it out the door like a painting.  THAT stays behind.  Like... whatever  SF and I talk about or look at STAYS inside the thrift store.  HE’S part of my ME in those stores.  It’s not like a grocery store in there.  It (a thrift store) makes those stores look like the social lies they actually are.  Even the fancy thrift stores.  You know; Greenwich (CT).  AS fancy as they are they are still that bone raw inside the door.  And it’s OVER when you LEAVE and that same door closes behind you.”

            “And so in the middle of all of that you found SF.
            “Yeah.  He doesn’t know anything.  He wants to.  But he never will.
            “You coach him a little.”
            “But really... not very much.  Just chit chat in the store about something that I’m buying or catches his eye.  I always tell him:  That’s crap.  Your crap.  He’s never gonna go to a museum.  He can barely go to a thrift store.  I mean.  Most of the thrift store; the stuff and the scene, goes right by him.  Like you say; it’s too advanced for him.  The thrift stores are too advanced for him.  For most of the people in ‘em for that matter.  They’re just actors and stage crew being humanity.  Or is it the other way around in there (the thrift stores).  Is it humanity being actors and stage crew.  The theatre is the (thrift store) space.  That’s what I figure interests me.  Most.  About being in them”
            “You do get it.”
            “Yeah:  But... It’s crap.  Your Crap.  I take the good stuff.”

            “Ok.  Let’s go back to that; buying good antiques in the thrift stores.”
            “Let me say one more thing about just that.  You know.  If you don’t get it; what we’re just talking about... you  not gonna find great antiques for sale cheap in the thrift stores.  You just not.  It’s a bigger thing there.  You better know that before you start trying to compete with me.  Us.  I know you know what I’m talking about.  You gotta know a whole lot about art and decorative arts but... you gotta be able to SEE people real well.  And then, if you can see people well... the thrift stores are where you go to do that really well.”
            “That’s pretty fair to say.”
            “Yeah; it’s crap, your crap and the thrift stores are fill with it but it’s up to you to know the difference.  And in there... it’s right in front of you.”
            “You mean humanity.”
            “AND a great piece of art dirt cheap.  Ha, ha.”

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