Wednesday, October 7, 2009
The Lost Weekend, Part I: Exchange Night
I must begin this post, dear readers, with a note of sincerest apology. Last week, I regaled you with a story of successes with my neighborhood’s monthly Exchange program, and promised to relate the upcoming “First Saturday” adventures. Then, as if that weren’t enough to cause sleepless anticipation, I dangled the “Civitan Flea Market ” carrot, with allusions to more potential Tales of Treasures Found. However, here it is days and days later, and I have yet to satisfy the cravings I so devilishly induced. I teased, but have yet to please.
In my defense (please accept this as a reason, and not as an excuse), I must confess that the results of my Friday and Saturday excursions were so deliriously satisfying, so intensely intoxicating, that it has taken me almost a week to recover sufficiently to speak of them. It was indeed, this addict’s Lost Weekend.
As you know, Friday night was the eve of the ‘hood’s monthly Bulk Trash Pickup (a sordid epithet for such an eagerly anticipated event!). Having dined on the Hill with Sig-O and the godsons, I had to excuse myself around 9 PM to engage in the night’s Exchange program. (Sig-O, resigned to the manifestations of my addiction, accepted my need to return home so early in the evening.) Bidding a fond goodnight to The Guys, I hurried southward to hunt unknown bounty.
On the short drive home, my hopes of a gleeful night of trash digging were almost quite literally dampened by an unexpected rain shower. My curses to the weather gods proved to be premature; the potential calamity passed before I turned into the neighborhood’s tree-lined entry, its sweeping brick pillars welcoming me like Bernini’s colonnade embraces visitors to St. Peter’s Square. Indeed, sometimes the treasures awaiting one on Exchange night rival those found at the Vatican….
Traveling what has become my routine course on such nights, I immediately came upon a matching pair of wooden folding beach chairs, complete with canvas sling seats. Convinced these must have been discarded because they were broken beyond repair, I was delighted to find that, while faded and in need of a good cleaning, they were completely functional and salvageable. While not terribly ‘vintage’, they nonetheless made it into my Passat wagon.
Continuing the hunt, I had almost decided that the folding chairs would have to satisfy my cravings when I accidently turned down an unfamiliar street. (My neighborhood, like so many in Arlington County, has streets of such convoluted design as to confound the most advanced GPS devices.) However, it was a most serendipitous detour: there, in the darkness of an ancient oak’s shadow, sat an undeniably vintage (dare I say, antique) wooden armchair! My mind barely registered the chair’s condition before I had leapt out of the car to claim my find. (I must admit that I am always engaging in these trash digging activities with at least a hint of trepidation; I have an irrational fear of absconding with a piece of claimed décor that someone has simply set by the curb while they retrieve their vehicle….Of course, such thoughts make the ravenous addict side of me all the more manic in claiming my fix!)
Fortunately I managed to fit my newest treasure amongst its more contemporary traveling companions, the beach chairs. The clouded moon provided barely enough light for me to observe that my new old chair was acceptably sound, although the cane backing was ripped and the cushioned seat was in dire need of new upholstery. But, adhering to the “don’t-ask-where-it-will-go-or-for-what-purpose” rule, I gleefully returned home, satiated at last.
The next morning, Sharona was scheduled to arrive at my house by 6:50 so that we could arrive at the Arlington Civitan Flea Market shortly after opening. Managing a scant 6 hours sleep, I was unable to sufficiently recover from my Vintage Vertigo stupor of the night before. Nonetheless, I rallied – after all, The Hunt waits for no one! Recalling the episode of the night before, I realized I had to empty my car of the recent acquisitions (to make room for any NEW acquisitions from the Flea!). It was not til then that I got a good look at my latest vintage/antique piece. As I had perceived upon first capturing my quarry, the chair seemed to be in reasonable shape; a few joints were loose, but the carvings were intact, and there was little damage to the wood itself. The style perhaps is Edwardian; more research is necessary. Regardless, I have been churning on how to refinish it, and I have some very quirky ideas to make this chair rather edgy – think “rocker chic”!
The chair made it into my already crowded home. But like the stereotypical crazy lady with a hundred cats, there’s always room for one more castaway. Sharona arrived right on time, and since she agreed to drive to the Flea, the beach chairs were allowed to stay in the Passat (and eventually found their way into Sig-O’s garage….After all, once I paint the frames and dye the canvas, they should reside in Rehoboth Beach!).
And THEN, at the Civitan Flea….Ah, but now you must wait for Part II of The Lost Weekend ("Coddled on my Birthday"). After all, I’m still recovering, and have to regain my strength….