During a frigid damp Saturday morning, my close friend picked me up for what she called “the greatest estate sale on earth.” It appeared the family holding the sale was very wealthy, the neighborhood was a few easy blocks away, so why not? I was ordered to bring as many tote bags as my shoulders could carry plus bubble wrap and more totes knotted around my waist. For God’s sake, treasures a family held dear for generations were waiting! Hot coffee in a mug (heavy on sugar for energy), we arrive early, and our ticket says lucky number 16 in a crowd that reached over 100. Waiting until the door opened, observing the yellow brick mansion outside as I shivered in gloves, hat and arctic coat, Voodoo vibes clearly whispered to me, this was the BIG one. I held that #16 ticket like a 24-carat diamond. It’s ten minutes to opening time. I notice a woman with ticket #49 in back of me. Whaaaaat???? My teeth are getting sharp. I’m going to blow myself up like a rooster if she breaks in the line and comes near me.
Suddenly, a few people broke in the line, pole-vaulted toward a short, stout woman, full-on make-up and known to own a furniture shop in the downtown area of my town. Her minions quickly ran to her, whispered in her ear, she gave directions, and they fled the room. Obviously, they were told in advance where all the treasures were located and to race in each room like their hair was on fire. My teeth have become sharper, and this is only the dress rehearsal in the estate sale.
My friend appointed my role as “The Pit Bull” and I was authorized to perch on a large floral, peach-colored Chippendale style chair, cabriole legs with ball and claw feet stationed inside of the front door. A very dangerous spot. My so-called friend’s function was to speed race to every room inside said huge mansion and every few minutes run toward me with arms full of treasures. My job was to take said treasures and stuff them gingerly all around me in the chair’s upholstery. This means underneath the chair and on the sides of the chair while the glare of others was like a spear in my chest. If things became dicey, I was to build a barricade of books around me as a wall to hide the stash. Sweat beads covered my forehead. Every few minutes, the front door opened, and another set of 20 people entered. I could feel the crystal candelabra near my back sticking in my rib cage. Whatever it took for me to guard treasures with my life. If a size 13 foot appeared near my feet, I was on ready to yell “SOLD.” Fierce and unafraid was I.
Cleaning out the house was in full throttle. Ahead of me were steps leading down from the 2nd floor. It was amazing how many towels, sheets, bedspreads, and curtains one human could carry! A woman wrapped herself in a king-sized bedspread like a body turban and rolled like a Tootsie Roll downwards. No injuries, that bedspread was like body armor for her. Furniture, china, jewelry, dust collectors marched down the stairs…impulse buyers. Normally, one would carry around an item until they are ready to pay. Not here. People would carry items twice their weight in fear of losing the treasure. Twisted back, who cares? No one is thinking about how to get 6 high-back chairs into a Honda Civic. Or how about an entire shelf of books when your car is parked a mile away. Who cares? For now, it’s ownership of the treasure that counts.
It’s been three hours. My friend has been to the attic, basement, pool room, all closets, and hidey holes. Worn out, I’ve become accustomed to becoming more aggressive by the minute. After all, if a lamp is tucked inside my chair and the shade tilting on my head, wouldn’t you think it was sold? People want my stuff. They want the incredible art I am balancing underneath my legs. They want the chair I’m sitting on regardless of the “SOLD” sign attached. (Always bring post-it notes, you’ll thank me for that tip).
I’m still on that peach-colored chair and my friend stands in line for two more hours to check out. I’m at a point where I’m dreaming of a dumpster or decorating “ICU Minimalist” in my own home. It’s been exhausting, I need a Bloody Mary and a nap. We arrive back home in two cars and peruse our stash. We are both very wired and full of energy. What great treasures we have. That stressful situation became an emotional experience. We are now the proud owners of things that a stranger we never met held near and dear, but we also take pride in becoming the new owners. Hopefully, the next owners won’t have to work so hard or better yet, we can take photos of said items and pre-package them in advance.