I like to be first in line to enter antiques shows. As a collector, I want first pick of what’s being offered. “First pick,” right after the exhibiting dealers take their picks.
A long time ago, when I must have been lazy, I arrived at a show well ahead of opening time in order to take my rightful place. This time, however, I wasn’t early enough.
Standing at the entry door were two young women. Twenty-somethings. I was thirty-something. They on the older end and me on the younger.
Annoyed at myself for the consequences of self-inflicted indolence, I found comfort in the fact that the company wasn’t all so terrible. I would, somehow, manage to struggle through this.
Having (strong) Scandinavian grandparents helps build character. (The other side of the family just makes me stubborn.) Or it makes one a character.
They were attractive. And chatty.
And I was standing close to them, practicing my professional football blocking posture to thwart interlopers from nudging their way in front of me.
That was the only reason for the proximity. Really.
Because I was so close, I couldn’t help but overhear most of their conversation as they studiously ignored my presence.
Have I mentioned they were attractive?
One says to the other: “I have to find something to collect.”
Sounds funny, I thought. You have to FIND something to collect?
Don’t we either collect or not?
Isn’t collecting a little like a light switch: it’s either “on” or it’s “off.” The switch is never “kinda” on.
How does the collecting bug select its victims? Once struck, why do some become so ardent while others receive only a mild infection? Is there a cure for the virus? And who’s interested in getting cured?
Back to the eavesdropping. Isn’t collecting an organic process rather than the bitter pill or the search-until-you-drop process?
Organic. It’s a popular expression these days.
What would Emily Litella say? Or, for those too young, Beavis and Butt-Head?
And for the rest of us, when were you struck but the collecting virus, how serious has the case been, and has anyone ever been cured?