One of the salvage yards in Philadelphia moved locations… their stuff was a mix of hipster nonsense and amazing architectural salvage. It was unusual and well curated and hideously expensive– a fun place to browse.
The new owners had a demolition sale at the old location and Paul and I went over there to look on Saturday morning… there was almost nothing left in the building.
It was mostly trash.
I could feel my eyes heating up because you know how I feel about fancy hinges. And my instinct was to rip the tag off and RUN to pay for this new item of gloriousness which serves no purpose.
I was mid-rip when Paul said – are you sure? You have been so single-mindedly pursuing this OTHER THING… Are you sure you want to spend $200 on THIS? What will you even DO with it? Are you sure you aren’t just being distracted by shiny things?
Normally, I would defend my hoarding ferociously, while foaming at the mouth and scurrying protectively around my new item… But for the first time ever, Self wondered– is he right?
After all, WHY do I look at this and see some cross between Strahov Abbey, a 200-year-old French bakery, and the Titanic?
That makes no sense!
This is just an old, broken chalkboard.
Why WOULD I want that?
What would I DO with it?
Is this a mistake?
Obviously these are questions only an idiot asks themselves. But in the moment, I was swayed.
Yes, you read that correctly. I WALKED AWAY.
All the way home I felt a deep sense of disquiet and agitation. But it was tempered by the awareness that I am impulsive. And covetous. And distracted by shiny things… And I need to be careful that I am not buying things just because of the primordial MINE instinct.
Paul said – you are very quiet over there.
I said – yes… Self-thwarted GFT acquisition is a deeply uncomfortable experience. I’m not sure I did the right thing… I might have made a horrible mistake.
Maybe this is the thing that will give me not-buyer’s remorse for years.
MAYBE I HAVE RUINED MY ENTIRE LIFE.
I tried to be calm and remind myself that a broken chalkboard is NOT the key to my inner peace; and that material objects overall are a source of unhappiness and basically a distraction from the real meaning of life which everyone knows is cats.
But Self whispered – are you sure? Don’t you think that’s a gamble? What if those hinges ARE the meaning of life?
Do you really want someone ELSE to have it?
Why didn’t you buy it so we could BE SURE?
We could always sell it later, if it turned out we didn’t NEED it.
We were about three minutes from home when I got out my phone and googled antique brass hinged chalkboard… just to see what I could have sold it for.
Self said— CONGRATULATIONS! You’re an idiot.
I said to Paul – Turnaround. TURNAROUND. TURNAROUND.
Then I reclined the seat and breathed deeply through my nose while chanting to myself: I’m an idiot, I’m an idiot, I’m an idiot… So that the universe understood that I knew I was an idiot and it did not need to mete out further punishment.
This was a completely amateur mistake for which there is no excuse.
I blame Paul for short-circuiting my natural thought process.
1. I put the chalk in a charming antique teacup because I am a blogger and thus live only the most extraordinary of lifestyles.
2. It’s not going to sit on the floor… it’s going to get mounted to that wall at about the height of the picture frame.
*GFT= Giant Fancy Thing.