Wednesday, January 14, 2009

January 2009

By now you are on a budget and thinking what else can you put on ebay to get through this winter. Well maybe that’s just me talking out loud. Christmas was a financial bust and as they say, baby needs new shoes. Too panicked to sit at a computer and do something easy, I loaded up my truck and a borrowed trailer after New Year’s and I hauled Detroit to Atlanta. Turns out the recession beat me there. But, the show must go on and antique dealers on the road put carnies to shame. Let’s just say it’s a work hard, play hard group and do we know how to have a good time. First there was the boon doggle of a free four-night’s stay in the presidential suite my gal pal won in the hotel’s drawing. Instant party, just add roadies. I am forever mentally compiling footage for a documentary, and this scenario was no exception. The people drawn to this business are usually somehow unfit for the office. Smart, crazy, definitely not conventional, these are fascinating characters that may look rough, but know more about some obscure era of craft than you do. Put them with other people just like them and you cannot imagine the cinema that ensues. It’s always Homer’s Odyssey. First there’s the trip there, always harrowing, if not equipment malfunctions then it’s freak weather, everybody’s sleep deprived and on edge by the time they pull in. Then there’s the set-up, sketchy porters, some sober some not, with no sense of urgency to unpack but manage to break your things anyway. There’s the hot item everyone is hovering around that you wish you had 10 of. And the heavy stuff no one is looking at that you wish you’d left behind. Next it’s time for the pricing game, more mystical than practical. Oh sure you paid x for it, there may be some precedent, but there’s always some nuance of condition, a round not square nail, a questionable signature and so on. You’re either over zealous and price it too high or you aim low and the hawks are circling for the kill. You then spend the rest of the show holding that once hot item that’s now garbage you can’t give away or you’re calculating a growing pile of money that would have been yours if you’d only stuck to your guns. At the end of the day you count your spoils and maybe some treasure you think you stole. Coming from Detroit, it was just nice to shed a few layers and enjoy the sun when it finally came. Luckily, I sold some things, I bought some things, packed it up and got back on the road.

Naturally there was an ice storm on the way but rather than do a 360 (last year’s trick) I wisely pulled off and called it a night. I arrived home in time to unload between snow storms and before a severe temperature drop. I don’t know what it is, but somehow people know when you have just arrived with something fresh. The bigger the mess, the more they love it and if it’s a day you are normally closed, here they come. I’ll get it organized and display it just so, but the aura will have dimmed somehow and chances are they will have preferred to shop when and where it got dropped. Always, it’s the thrill of the hunt and the thirst for a fresh kill.

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