I’ve finally realized why I love the monthly Alameda Antiques Faire so much. Every weekend (can this be an exaggeration? I don’t think it is) when I was a kid, we went either garage–saling (it is too a word) or flea–marketing. The way my body moves from table to table, the way my eye drifts from one random treasure to the next piece of crap, makes me feel like a kid with electricity in my veins. I don’t even covet much, that’s the interesting thing. I don’t want extra crap in the house. We can’t afford the nice things at the Faire. So it’s not even like money burns a hole in my pocket.
We sat in an AMAZING set of leather chairs from the fifties. I said, “We could put them where the blue chairs are now!” Years ago, those blue chairs came with our couch on Craigslist for a total of three hundred bucks. They’re comfy but dog–smelling and old–looking. They’re fine for us. They are NOT leather club chairs that embrace your body like a hug of a rich man wanting to huff the money out of your wallet. We asked how much. The guy said six–thousand–five–hundred and we burst into laughter. The best part was that while I was already standing, Lala didn’t even leap up. She just sat there, laughing some more, enjoying the chair.
I did find a black cashmere sweater from Costco in size enormous for twenty bucks. It’s the kind of thing I would never buy from the store—that’s some damn raping and pillaging they’re doing of the world with that cheap cashmere. Buying it new but second–hand? I’m all in. It’ll replace the blue huge cashmere I got on eBay – the one I wear every single day of winter, the one with the hole the size of a watermelon (truly) under the left armpit. I always meant to sew it up and never did. Someday the black one will be in the same ragged, torn shape, and I’ll use my serger to Frankenstein them together.I never, ever wear them out of the house. They don’t have to look good. They just feel wonderful, lighter than any sweater I’ve ever knitted, and I don’t have to respect them at all, the way I do a hand knit. I can rip them off my body furiously every time I go into a hot flash, which is about every fifteen minutes. Immediately after the sweat dries, I’m freezing, so I tug it ruthlessly back over my head.
But the best part wasn’t the finding or the buying. It was the wandering. It was the fact that it didn’t matter which row we went down, or which we missed. It didn’t matter that we got there so late we were only there for a couple of hours before they packed it all up. It’s one of the most bonding date–type of things to do – you explore a little by yourself, you call out to your mate who’s up the row, you laugh about the constipated Santa figure and dream about the place you could put that perfect, vintage, walnut couch that makes you wish—just for a moment—for a bigger house, for a different lifestyle in which you have fantastic dinner parties catered by people in white coats and bow ties. You do this together, and then you let that fleeting dream go and just as readily move to the next table which makes you long to collect vintage French handbags.
We got a poke bowl for lunch and sat with our backs to the sun, the estuary so close we could almost dip our fingers in the water. We watched the cranes on the other side of the water in Oakland offload containers, hoisting them high into the air. At the horizon, in Berkeley, the sky was pale white, but it burst into brilliant blue overhead. I leaned against Lala. She licked my shoulder, taking a tiny taste, and for some reason, I didn’t mind.
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