Question: Crack is to junkies as antique stores are to:
a) Gangsters
b) Scientists
c) Jenny
d) Meter maids
e) None of the above
If you answered c, you are correct!
My addiction to antiques is a phenomenon that has grown slowly over the past decade or so, like most insidious habits. I mostly practice abstinence, because I’m not confident in my ability to control my urges. But this past weekend, while visiting my friend Dee-Dee in Milwaukee, a group of us stepped foot into a glorious two story antique mall, every corner packed tightly with bits and pieces of eras gone by.
I could sense my pupils dilating the moment we walked in, followed by the tell-tale quickening of the heart rate as my hand brushed across a row of old Nancy Drew mysteries. We were meeting up with more friends later, so we didn’t have a lot of time to shop. Torturous dilemma. It was like being at the scene of a crime – my eyes bounced rapidly from shelf to shelf, floor to ceiling, trying desperately to scan the entire room and take in as much as possible in the time we had left.
Dee-Dee called me over to look at a box of old sheet music – the swoony romantic illustrations faded by the years. Yes. Yes, I could frame these, and hang them in the living room. Just like that box of old magazine ads I bought last year. And the kitschy album covers from the 50’s. And the basket of postcards from the 20’s I got the last time we were here. They would look so nice on the wall facing the windows…Stop! There was no time to look through sheet music – that could take hours!
I abandoned Dee-Dee only to find Natasha modeling a 1950’s era kelly green overcoat with giant pearlescent buttons. She was spinning in circles to gauge the coat’s Mary Tyler Moore factor. It ranked high, but not as high as the short pink fur jacket she would try on later in the day.
Like disoriented spelunkers, we shouted to each other from across the aisles:
“Jenny! Jen – where are you? Come here – you have to see this footstool made out of antlers!”
“Natasha – have you seen Dee-Dee? I think she was looking for some milk glass lamps – I found a pair over here.”
“Where’s Farnsworth? Is he still trying on leather jackets and train conductor hats?”
“Dee! Did you need a Fozzie Bear mug? Wait – how does that even qualify as an antique?”
“I’m going upstairs now – follow my lead!”
My mantras:
• You live in a one-bedroom apartment, Jenny. A one. bedroom. apartment.
• Want and need are not the same thing.
• If you don’t know what it is, you can’t buy it.
• How would you get a barber chair into your car?
I carried a small silver desk fan around with me for a good twenty minutes. It’s only $15. That’s not bad at all. Does it work? Do I care if it works? I could totally replace the plug if it didn’t work. It would look cool on the antique television set in my living room. Maybe I should get that old Mission oak desk to put this fan on…
In the end, we all left empty-handed. I set the fan down, and exited only with a camera full of memories. Not nearly as satisfying, but they definitely fit into my apartment better.
Lead us not into temptation:
[more on flickr]
Two bits

13 Responses to “iwantiwantiwant”

  1. elle Says:

    I would have totally bought that chair…and the Fozzy mug… and the desk, and those little dolly things..oh, and the fan. I love antiques too.

  2. Postmodern Sass Says:

    I totally need a Fozzie Bear mug

  3. Hap Says:

    Wise choice on the chair. I owned one. Or more accurately, it owned me. Do you have any idea how heavy those things are? And what a mess the oil in the base becomes when you move it into even a first-floor apartment?

    It was, however, the greatest reading and smoking chair ever.

  4. heather anne Says:

    I was so close. I guessed gangsters, but my second guess was going to be Jenny. Do I still win a prize?

  5. dee-dee Says:

    I am going back to buy those asian bobble-head dolls after seeing the picture…I forgot how great they were…do you want me to pick up the fan?

  6. Tracy Lynn Says:

    I’m not allowed to go into antique stores for the next eight months, until I move, simply because I can’t be trusted. I don’t limit myself to antiques, either, embracing a wide variety of outright JUNK that could be transformed if one knew how.
    I have the knowledge, but lack skill and patience. Believe me when I say you NEED skill and patience.

  7. jenny Says:

    elle: Note to self – do not go near an antique mall with elle… :)
    PSass: Really? See – I must have instinctively known that someone needed it!
    hap: Ooh – hadn’t really thought about the oil part. The weight was definitely an issue – and the $400 price tag!
    heather anne: Yes, you win one set of asian bobblehead kissing dolls! (oh, wait – looks like they’re already being snatched up…)
    Dee: Are you really going to buy them? They were awesome, but I never checked a price. YES I WANT THAT FAN! No wait. Don’t. YES, BUY IT. No, don’t. PLEASE GET IT FOR ME! I JUST DON’T KNOW! (yes, please get it.)
    Tracy Lynn: Junk, you say? Like perhaps the four discarded windows I garbage picked several years ago, thinking I would someday make art out of them? Only to later set by the trash when I moved to Chicago? Only to later regret trashing once I saw a bunch of cool paintings done on old windows? ARGHHH! It’s a sickness!

  8. claire Says:

    Have you actually framed and hung any of the frameable stuff you’ve bought? If you’ve done even a third of them, I’d be impressed.
    Sometimes the unidentifiable stuff is the most fun to get. I would have trouble with that mantra.
    The barber chair looks cool. When I was driving cross country, I saw these large iron ore carts that I thought would look fantastic in my parents’ garden. There was that brief flash image of towing it behind my car in my mind, but they were so expensive I never pursued the towing idea. (I’m sure my car is thankful!)

  9. dee-dee Says:

    i will buy you the fan for festivus this year and those bobble heads must be bought…regardless of price.

  10. diane Says:

    Not QUITE as impressive, but if you haven’t yet, definitely check out the Ravenswood Antique Mall on N. Damen in Chi-town. It’s intimidating when you peer in the window, but the prices are not so daunting and the place goes way, way, WAYYYYY back to the very back of the buildling!

  11. shari Says:

    OK, so when you come to visit, we’re going to the Antique Mall, and the Gilded Lily Antique Home, and a couple of other places that don’t have identifiable store titles but have awesome rooms of what otherwise might be termed junk, but you and I know to be possible treasure. But, like when going gambling with a friend, we will only have a pre-determined amount of cash-in-hand, no debit or credit cards allowed, and we’ll go on foot so we’d have to carry whatever we buy. Ooooooh, this is going to be fun!!

  12. jenny Says:

    Claire: [hangs head] No. No, I haven’t framed any of those things. But I do have the albums sitting on my mantel!
    Dee-Dee: Yay for festivus! Yay for asian bobbleheads!
    diane: OOOOH! Thanks for the tip – I’m pretty sure I’ve been past that store, but figured it would be insanely overpriced, like every other antique store in Chicago. Cool!
    shari: I’m SO there! Although, I don’t think I like the “only buy what you can carry” rule. What if I find the perfect end table? Hey – then can we go gambling, too?

  13. shari Says:

    What? Isn’t that why you’re inviting me along?!? To carry the end-table?