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2003-08-08 @ 10:13 a.m.
yuppie by association

Yuppie by Association

I am currently housesitting for the married guy. Its a nice gig. Big House. Above ground. All the accouterments of civilized society. A Moosewood Restaurant Kitchen Garden and obscure poetry books resting delicately on nearby tables. Dahlias and hydrangeas bending gracefully out of vases. Way cool CDs overflowing from a nearby antique cabinet. This is ground zero for shabby chic. Of course there is also the obligatory old linens with scalloped edges, velvet divans, and 1950's china with floral prints. They won't let you in Starbucks unless you flash a picture of your rose print sheets stretched over your grandma's sleigh bed. When I got the mail today there was a L.L. Bean catalog in the mailbox. When I turned on the TV there was a L.L. Bean commercial on TV. I was like what is this, an all-access L.L. Bean channel? I don't have this channel at home. I just have that annoying guy who threatens to have a coronary if you don't buy a Chevy. And I'm a lot more likely to pull out a Garage Sale-Biker Babe Weekly from my mailbox, than some magazine that wants me to me to buy a plum carcoat with silver buttons and a hood while drinking hot cocoa.

I'm more shabby than chic, ya see. Way more. I have big lumpy 1980's furniture. And commercial grade carpeting, you know, the kind you see at traffic school when you get a speeding ticket. And a PC instead of a MAC. I know, I know. I'm really a schlub in your eyes now. I used to get my shrink's cast offs when he did PCs, but he recently got his dream MAC, and now the steady supply of old monitors, keyboards and hard drives he used to pass onto me, are now a thing of the past. I just can't keep up with the Joneses anymore. I'm now running with the Salvation Army crowd. And it ain't pretty.

What's funny is that some of my stuff is so old, it actually qualifies as shabby accident. I was describing my pink tiled bathroom to my gay friend in New York who was absolutely salivating over it. He's really into the 50' and Julianne Moore in green silk taffeta and Gidget reruns. I didn't have the heart to tell him, it wasn't trendy looking, but rather depressing and tacky without the benefit of being cool. There's a fine line you see. Yuppies have super sniffers when it comes to this. A hand embroidered hanky can go either way. It can either be delicately pretty and deserving of a place in the home of the well-to-do, or it can be just slightly off, and end up in the Goodwill bin. I actually go looking for this crap all the time at garage sales, hoping to score on E-Bay.

I have a huge bag full of hand embroidered hankies, table runners, table clothes and doilies that my elderly aunt used to sit around and hand embroidered all day until she died. Its a memorable collection, with both linen and cotton, in both perfect and somewhat good condition.. I took a class last year and each week a different antique dealer with a different specialty came and talked to our class. We had people who were experts in linens, buttons, clocks, antique clothing and hats, military memorabilia (I skipped that class. Let Donald Rumsfeld sit in for me. Thought he might get a lead on those weapons of mass destruction. You know, like some old collector from Yonkers New York who might be hiding plutonium in a shell casing from the Spanish American War.). Amazingly, the class I thought would be the most boring turned out to be the most interesting. Buttons. Who knew? Maybe it was just the presenter and his vast collection of buttons from the 1600's up. He was really fascinating and the buttons were incredibly beautiful. Made me want to give up pull over tee-shirts.

Probably the most interesting bit of information I picked up during my antique class was something about linens. You know when you pick up a piece of old linen and you see those tiny yellow spots on them, and you're wondering what the hell that is? Well, I can now give you the definitive answer. Bug pee. Yup. Whenever those little critters, would get their fill of fiber crispies, they would just lift up their proverbial leg and leave behind a little calling card and pee. And its really difficult to get out of the material. But I know some antique dealer would probably give me a mint for my aunt's handiwork. Bug Pee and all. So one day when I'm Tuesday...or Thursday...or Monday, I might just give up a piece of my family's heritage to pay for my rent or the latest issue of Garage Sale-Biker Babe Weekly and sell my aunt's handiwork to the highest bidder. A girl's gotta do, what a girl's gotta do and besides, who wants a bunch of pee-stained doilies?

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