Antiquarian Sophistication of the "I" and the "Eye" Upon the "It"
"Puss in the Corner"
“Yes, puss in the corner, but not in the way you fancy. No indeed. Puss has been sent there to stay until she can be good.”
Is there ever going to be a fire... that ravishes the ‘it’ all? Can you be a fire that ravishes ‘it’ all? “Burned it up.” They’ve said to me. Quite well managed and sure they’ve said that; “Burned it up.” That is the commercial market for antiques
I am speaking of.
Once the fire is started... pile more upon it? Celebrate, they do, the anti-knowing of “old things”. Murmurs of women. Folkways. Old stories. Diaries never kept. Or WERE they kept only to be burned... too... when found. Were they too... “Burned it up”.
“Go stand in the corner... until you are GOOD.” That is what has happen to the old woman’s things. “Those there are VALUABLE; that there. In the corner. We can’t keep her cat out of there.”
“Oh.” I said. “I don’t want her cat.”
“You can have her. We don’t want her either.”
Her old dining table chairs had been pushed against the sideboard. The top of the sideboard had been covered with her old china that they had removed from the dining room’s two corner cabinets. Candlestick pairs, glassware, silver plate (?), serving service, ‘covered dishes’ and a mirror behind. “Broken” one heiress said.
“The glass?” I said
“The looking glass?”
“Oh. The mirror? No. The china. The pieces in that box”.
There were two boxes; an old shoe box resting on top of an old shirt box. Set off to one side
On the sideboard.
“I don’t want to do anything today but I’ll come back when your done and buy it all.”
“The whole house contents; we’ll clean it out”
“Not just the antiques?”
“No. Everything. Of course the antiques. Just keep putting what you don’t want in the corners (of the different rooms). You know what your doing. Just let me know. When your done. Ready. I’ll come back.”
Puss in the corner. They put the antiques in the corners. It was nine months before I heard from them again. Of course I heard ABOUT them right along. Other dealers just cannot shut-up. At least six of those... ‘had been let in’.
“Oh.” I’d say to them.
It should be perfectly obvious that if the heirs know enough about the antiques in their mother’s house... to put the antiques they don’t want in the corners of each room... that they know nothing about antiques at all. Except but what they’ve been told. And I told them nothing. About anything. In the house.
It was a rather large house. Estate. Lots of rooms... with the unwanted antiques in the corners... excepting the rather large number of rooms where the heirs “didn’t find anything” they’d say.
You (the reader) say.
Now your beginning to ... “see” (understand)? Do you hear the old woman murmuring? Oh... it is still just muttering to you? One of the heirs muttered about the coffee table... to herself. “Would it FIT.” she... what?
I don’t care
I don’t want to know.
When I came back
It wasn’t there.
“She has very good taste. Her house is all just like that too. Perfect”. Said Carl. To me. Carl is her brother. He was “taking” the “tools” in the “garage”. “JUST THE TOOLS I’M GONNA USE.” He said. He left everything else... strewn about... after he “DUG THROUGH IT”. “TWO TRIPS”... in his truck. The sisters didn’t “want any of that”. The grandfather’s father was a carpenter’s assistant when he was in his teens. He helped build the church
Down the street... about one thousand feet... and on the same side of the street. His tools (“old tools”) were ‘mixed in’ and not in the ‘old tool chest’ that had been left up just inside the garage door ...to hold sand and salt... for when ‘it’s icy’. “TOO BAD HUH. WOULD HAVE BEEN A NICE BOX ONCE”. I sold it for thirty. Dollars. I used the sand myself. I gave the bags of salt to Raphael. He works at the church on Sundays... salting the walkways when ‘it’s icy’. He’s from Brazil. He speaks Spanish and English. He smokes cigarettes when he stands on the walkways and surveys his salting job.
“Want to see if you’d LIKE any of the TOOLS?” I said to him. He came up to the garage after church was done. That Sunday. “IF YOU CAN USE IT BETTER TAKE IT”.
“I can?” he said.
“ONLY WHILE I’M IN A GOOD MOOD”. We both laughed.
He doesn’t have a truck. “PUT IT IN MINE and WE’LL DRIVE IT OVER”.
“That bench? The tool bench... okay... SURE.”
I could have sold it. Pretty easy. Fuck it. I did pretty well with it. By giving it to him. “It’s an antique.” I told him. He surveyed it.
“World War One”.
He didn’t say anything more. Neither did I. We... the two of us... ‘flipped’ it up into the truck.
It’s been four years and he uses that bench everyday. I bet.
“Puss in the corner” I said to the heirs.
“What did you say?”
I think they thought I said ‘piss in the corner’. We were all standing at the front of the garage... looking in at “the stuff”. They called it.
The easy solution would be to re-title all the “antiques” as “stuff”; old stuff. That would get rid of ‘antiques’ and the... that they being that are... “OLD” and “VALUABLE”. Since the ‘market’ for antiques has been re-titled as ‘crashed’, removing the antiques title gets rid of that too; the ‘crashed’ antiques ‘market’. It is all, then, just ‘stuff’ in the corners of the rooms and ‘in the garage’. Antiques become easier to manage without the title: “Throw the stuff out”. “Sell the stuff in a yard sale”. It is just ‘stuff’. “Who cares?”
That is the way it should be. One never, then, has to consider ‘it’ by ‘eye’ of... your... ‘I’. No. Put the stuff in the garage or throw it out. Put “what I like” in the dining room. Obviously... if there are two small boxes of old (18th century) broken china found in the dining room... throw that out. That is what happens... more... and more... and more... these days. This is because “no one” “knows anything”. That is what the actual ‘market crash’ of ‘antiques’ is: No one knows anything. It is all just “stuff”. And no one “BUYS” “STUFF” unless it is a... “what I like”. That is the whole round (circle) of the market (vast percentage of the market). It is furthered by the ‘what I like’ being supported by a buttress (flying buttress?) of “what sells”. “Stuff” that “sells” is “what sells”.
An example? ...: “Something to PUT my TV on”. “Stuff” is searched, an “I like” is found. The whole world of “I”, “eye” and “it”... is accomplished. It is... a very... sophisticated process.
And that is what it looks like... too... in the corners of the rooms: Just stuff. Or... NOTHING. The corner is bare... until Puss... is in that corner.
How does Puss get sent to the corner? Puss says “I like antiques”... “I want antiques”... “I want to know about antiques”... “I care about antiques”... “I want things that my great-grandmother had. They were good, she knew that and knew, too, what ‘good’... was...? NO: What good... IS. I remind... the antiques are STILL HERE. They are ‘all over the place’ and called, these days... “stuff”.
Most ‘stuff’ is ‘bad’ (bad design; ‘bad taste’). It is as if one is peeking through a knot hole in an old wooden fence. In behind the old fence... that hides the ‘old’ “stuff” are... where the ‘antiques’ have gone after ‘the market crashed’. No one knows this. No one cares about this. No one ever peeks through the hole
To “see” “the antiques”. I can stand at the hole and peek... using my antiquarian sophisticated “I” to physically deploy my “eye” to seek the antique “it” and
Even if it is Colonial era Old New England tea china that was ‘passed down’. No... all I am shown is “stuff” that is defined as ‘what I like’. If I suggest ...anything... I am sent to stand in the corner of the room with the ‘antiques’ until I will be
I actually prefer standing in the corner where the antiques were put. No one bothers me. I cannot leave the corner with all the antiques until I will be
I accept the terms.
“Puss in the corner”.