Rock On

Inevitably, there’s one of those defining moments for everyone: when the universe unambiguously alerts one to one’s limitations.

It’s the point at which the formerly bullet-proof youth with endless energy and endurance yields to the relentless, malicious and demoralizing recognition that (some) things are no longer what they once were.

Appropriate in at least one way, this is a rocking chair story.

As an antiques dealer, I hate rocking chairs. (And, yes, I know all about hating.) I mean, really. They’re hard to sell. And, more importantly, seemingly regardless of their actual physical size and dimensions, they invariably and single-handedly fill-up the entire back of my SUV.

The problem is one of opportunity cost. Suppose I find a bookcase, a much easier-to-sell and more profitable item. How am I going to fit that into my car with the rocker still there?

Answer: the rocker goes to the curb. Along with the money I spent on it.

But, sometimes, at a price, one cannot not buy a rocker.

The Stickley rocker at the antiques store was priced $75, was in fine original condition, including the still serviceable upholstery. Anywhere else, the chair would retail for $300-400.

And I had a store coupon, bringing its cost to less than $60.

I had to buy it. Had to.

At home, dragging it out of the back of the SUV, it took a moment to figure out where in the already over-crowded, over-stuffed, junk-filled garage the rocker could be placed.

An aside: This is a uniquely American problem. You know, the one where owning a two-car garage means both cars get parked in the driveway because there’s so much crap in the garage one can barely squeeze in a razor blade.

The rocker could park atop the 36-inch diameter lunch table, I decided. Though, really, any horizontal surface would do.

The rocker was easy and light enough to lift. But the path between the vehicle and the rocker’s intended landing spot was cluttered with who-knows-what, haphazardly placed there by who-knows-who, and there was a lot of it.

Catching my foot on something some moron had placed in the way, I lost my balance coupled with tripping, and went butt-over-tea kettle, catching only one rocker (of its two) on the table, crashing to the floor and upsetting several other valuable museum pieces as the chair landed on top of me.

Sounds worse than it was. Or so I thought.

The next morning, I woke up to a crick in my back and a bruised and swollen knee that produced a limp.

Things ain’t the way they used to be.

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