Are thrift stores a way to learn the Buddhist property of detachment from physical wants? I have started to think so after the strange mixture of joy and sadness which comes from looking through them.
It's not about the impersonal stuff. Finding a copy of a weird record? A Judith Kranz novel in hardcover that you think your mother read back in the day? That's all ... nothing, really. It's the personal yet anonymized stuff that cuts.
bunny_hugger needed to make trophies for the Rocket Robin tournament. Her reputation's grown to the point she can't just give out plaques anymore. We went to a thrift store looking for suitable trophy bases that could be put to her purposes. And there is something really poignant about finding the trophy that someone got for whatever in 1998 turning up nearly twenty years later to be picked up and pried apart by strangers to be given to someone else entirely. The things have to have meant something to someone, and now they don't, and if that isn't the tragedy of material possessions then what is?
She found a couple of suitable bases, though. And to fit the Rocket Robin name of the tournament you would figure we could pick up a couple cheap toy rockets from a dollar store or party store or toy store or the thrift shop or you would think some commercial supplier of small goods somewhere in the mid-Michigan area, incorrectly. We had to go to the backup plan at a dollar store where I accidentally drove my car over a curb that went out farther than I imagined, and buy some fake birds instead. This was assisted by one of the thrift store trophies having a bird that bunny_hugger could repaint to look more like a European robin and did. Also she picked up some amusing kids-party plastic trophy cups, each about an inch tall, that would go to fourth-place finishers.
And then on to making things. She designed a poster with art of a robin saluting while a spaceship took off in the background, and made the competitive pinball event just that bit more nerdy by making the spaceship the Orbit Jet [*] from the Rocky Jones show of the 50s. That's the show which gave Mystery Science Theater 3000 the episodes Manhunt In Space --- my first Joel episode --- and Crash Of Moons. She'd use the color versions of her art as the backdrop for the trophies, with birds on top, and would make some great prizes. I wanted one and was haunted by the thought of what would happen someday when she and I were dead and the trophy was left behind for a thrift store somewhere. Also that I'd not win, what with it being a tournament.
[*] Or the Silver Moon. Over the course of the series Rocky Jones's spaceship was actually destroyed and replaced, albeit with one of the same model. This turned into a trivia quiz on Facebook, as bunny_hugger challenged people to identify what spaceship she had rendered. There were fewer right guesses than she expected, or that I expected, since the Orbit Jet appeared on two episodes of MST3K after all. Someone did win, though didn't show up to the tournament to claim his drink-on-her.
Trivia: The North Jersey Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society organized in 1937; it's one of the oldest railroad historical societies in the United States. There are (were?) people with fifty-year continuous memberships. Source: Railroads of New Jersey: Fragments of the Past in the Garden State Landscape, Lorett Treese.
Currently Reading: The Sea Fairies, L Frank Baum.