I React to Antique Town

Antique Town: A place some 45 minutes from where you now live. Nested cozily between desolate cow pastures and semi-abandoned towns with solitary liquor stores featuring barred windows and signs out front reading “3 pck $11.99.”

Right there, in between, that’s where you’ll find Antique Town. This is where your wife and the couple you’re with will purchase someone else’s beat-up junk.

Perhaps at one point when the town was really a town and the people living there were really Mom’s and Pop’s, perhaps then you might have found actual antiques for sale. Somewhere.

But no more. Now you find only odd things, cast-aside flotsam from a bygone era, mangled by years of abuse, neglect, and family-pet torture. Old phones heaped on piles of chewed-up Star Wars toys. Faux stained-glass paintings of nude women with armpit hair. Glass cases full of battered rings and silverware. To be sold individually. Furniture groupings, the best of it merely decent, squatting at the center of each room in circles, as if protecting their young.

Then (worse): Things made to look old. You know the tired trick: Hit object with ice-pick, apply stain erratically, cover thinly with shellack, sell for $750.

At one point, I was approached by a man in his late 50’s.

MAN (eagerly): Would you like to make ten bucks?

ME: Not really.

MAN: I just wanted you to help me move this (points to incredibly large, awkward, ugly display-case lying along one wall).

It rained most of the day.

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