If you had been with me you wouldn’t have let me do it.
My sister Polly and I have driven down the mountains and are now parked by the cold ocean.
Before we get to the ocean however, we first go into the heart of the city to an “antiques pre-road show” to have some of Polly’s valuables looked at. She is enthused about the nine foot long Chinese painting in particular.
While waiting in the hotel for the Asian Experts to see us while Polly tells me about this particular kind of Chinese art.
“An artist” she tells me, “would work on these types of paintings for a year. Look at how tiny and intricate everything is. It was such small work on these types of paintings that artists would go blind from the effort.”
I raise what’s left of my eyebrows.
“Now, if that’s the case,” Polly is saying, “this painting could be worth a fortune.”
Polly and I wait and sit for an hour, with the marvelous painting leaning against some chairs as we fondly gaze at it.
Maybe this means Polly and her husband can retire. Travel. Eat lobster. Buy diamond collars for the cats and little ruby shoes for the granddaughters.
But as we know, most things don’t reach our expectations. So many things disappoint. We sigh.
“It’s a factory reproduction,” the dandy Antiques men in silk suits eventually tell Polly. “It was made in the late forties in Taiwan. It wasn’t done by hand. It’s a photograph.”
“Oh,” I say. “An artist didn’t go blind making this one?”
Polly twitches. “Many years ago I paid $35.00 for it,” she whispers.
“Umm,” says one of the men. “In two generations you could possibly double your money.”
“Oh gee,” Polly says. “About $70.00.”
Polly is very quick with numbers.
Feeling a bit droopy, we leave the hotel, and are now parked by the sea. We have just picked up some fish and chips at a stand. We are trying to settle in some plastic chairs at a table overlooking the deep harbor water.
This is difficult. An icy wind is blowing the food off the tables and it’s raining big round rain drops that splat in our faces. We think this eating outside thing is a bad idea.
“Let’s eat in your car,” Polly says.
If you had been with me, you wouldn’t have let me do it.
In fact, I think it’s a dumb idea to sit in my new Jaguar, but even dumber to sit in this bad weather and play with getting a raspy, snotty cold.
“Good idea,” I say.
We scoop up our plastic plates full of battered fish and oily french fries. I put the paper cups of white, pickled tarter sauce and red catsup and other sauces on our plates. I balance a bowl of sloppy black beans and cups and spoons and napkins.
We crab walk in the billowing wind to my car.
You would have said right then, ‘This is a really, really dumb idea, Venus.” (more…)