Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Antiques - the new puppy?

On occasion, I've considered asking my friend Mike if he'd loan me his kid for an afternoon while I go grocery shopping or walk around town. Just strap him to my chest in one of those "Bundle 'o Joy" harnesses or feed him mushy peas-and-carrots at a bar or coffee shop, and wait for the magic to happen.

A puppy would work well too, I suppose, but I don't currently have any friends with puppies, cute or otherwise. (Well, there's a family friend with a shitzu I could "borrow," but I can't do it. Can't ask her for a favor. Besides, she'd give me an exact minute-by-minute schedule of what to do with the dog and this dude could just not abide.)

But a new possibility presented itself to me during my little sister's recent visit. I might have to run a few more trials, with the appropriate number of samples and control groups, before I can present you with definitive information. But based on what happened a few weeks ago, I could be onto something.

After visiting Treasure Mart in Ann Arbor's Kerrytown, Mama Cass was determined to bring Lil' Sis there to find some little item that'd make her brand-spankin'-new condo just perfect. (And when I say determined, I mean bringing-it-up-every-two-bites-during-lunch determined. "How's your turkey sandwich? You're gonna love this place!" "Are you almost done? I hope you find something there. I saw something, but I know how picky you are, and I didn't want to buy it without you seeing it, and I didn't want us to fight this week..." Ma - let the poor girl finish her #18. Geez.) So when my sister visited a couple of weeks ago, we hit the Farmers Market and Zingerman's, and then it was off to Treasure Mart.

I thought Lil' Sis would humor Mom by looking around and acknowledging that a few items would look good at her place, but ultimately not buy anything. Sis likes to travel light. (Actually, she only says that. It's not true. I have the back strain to prove it.) Rather than look at tchotchkes, tea and kitchen sets, and cabinets, I stayed outside, browsed through books, and tried to remember whether or not I already owned Hemingway's Old Man and the Sea because I found a copy for 50 cents.

Much to my surprise, Lil' Sis found something she - not just Mom - wanted: an antique wood basket, perfect for keeping magazines and newspapers in, and the color matched her furniture. (Sis said that stuff, not me.) Everyone was happy; Mama Cass pointed out something, Lil' Sis liked and bought it, and I didn't have to participate in the process at all.

I had to carry the basket back to the car, however, and that's when the new possibility revealed itself to me. During the three-block walk, several women looked at me and smiled as I passed by them. Was that because I was carrying the basket in full "Chim Chim Cheree," Mary Poppins style? Well, that's a perfectly valid question, but no. It was too early to be that light on my feet. Were they amused by a big, strapping, dashing, and - don't forget - macho young man such as myself carrying an antique basket? I suppose. Was my fly open? No, I always check for that.

One pair of women even stopped me and asked if they could look at the basket. "Ooooh, look at that!" said one. "That's really nice." "Wow, I'm jealous," said the other. "I could use one of those." (I assume she was talking about the basket, not me.) Mama Cass and Lil' Sis maintained their distance, trying hard not to laugh. But I'd like to think they were giving me some quality time with the ladies.

After I signed their breasts with my Sharpie and posed for pictures we exchanged "enjoy the rest of your day" pleasantries, Lil' Sis came up to me with a huge, make-fun-of-my-brother grin and asked if I wanted to keep the basket so I could take it for a walk on weekends. (Who said she didn't have a sense of humor? Well, my mother did. That was kind of mean, Ma.) No, no, the basket would look much better in her living room than on my arm. But a seed has been planted. I might be making a return trip to the antique store very, very soon.

(Thanks to the Get Fuzzy Archive. Image from "Get Fuzzy" ©2005 Darby Conley/ Dist. by UFS, Inc.)