07 May 2012

on a treasure hunt {part 1}

It was a rainy Saturday afternoon in downtown Glen Ellyn, and my friend Elizabeth and I were wandering this resale shop called the Treasure House, picking up ugly pictures and dresses to laugh at but also looking for an armchair for my new office.

"Excuse me, please."

I turned and saw that we had somehow ended up right in the path of these guys who were trying to move a large couch. There was a matching armchair, by the way, but it didn't say "office of a literary person who happens to be a medical writer" so much as it said: "if you buy me, you should also start crocheting afghans and collecting hairless cats."

"Oh, I'm so sorry," I told the worker's back and then sidestepped him, being careful to avoid hitting the display of cut crystal and someone's grandmother's wedding china.

And then I decided to buy the small springform pan I'd seen over in their kitchenware section, and I left the Treasure House thinking more of the quiches and tarts I would make than of the man I'd almost caused to drop a large pink floral couch.

Maybe I should've been thinking more of him because while Elizabeth and I were in the store next door {a laughably overpriced store where their business plan seems to be: find a mirror or whatever on the side of the road, paint it teal or rosy pink, call it shabby chic, and then charge $70 for it}, he—the great lifter of the couch himself—came in and said:

Treasure House Man: Hi, I just came to see if you were just as pretty in here as you were next door.

I will pause here to let you imagine 1) what I said in reply, and 2) what you would've said, had you been in the same situation. I like to think I'm kind of, sort of, maybe witty, but what I said was:

Me: Really!??!

Yes, really, that's what came out. For all my reading of Jane Austen, I still rarely have witty comebacks when approached like that, and let's face it: when you don't have Jane putting words in your mouth—when you are left to your own devices on a Saturday afternoon—it's rare that Elizabeth Bennet-worthy quotes come out.

Treasure House Man: Yes, really. Do you ever have coffee with college professors who volunteer at resale shops on the weekend?

How very specific. I should've said something sparkling and sharp in an attempt to recover my Elizabeth Bennet status—something like, "No, I can't say I've ever encountered this particular situation before, and how uncanny would it be to meet more than one college professor who volunteers at resale shops on the weekends and follows pretty girls from store to store?"

But I didn't say that. I chose to focus instead on the college professor part and said:

Me: Maybe. What kind of college professor would this be?

In retrospect, I think two things:

One, this need to categorize him came out of my mouth so quickly. Is there a kind of college professor I wouldn't go to coffee with—some kind that my subconscious is aware of but the rest of me isn't?

Two, this is probably the most Jane Austen part of the conversation—where I try to discern in an unsubtle way if he's my kind of people. I may as well have asked him, "And do you have an income of 50,000 pounds a year and a house in Derbyshire?"

Treasure House Man: I was a professor in New Mexico; I taught metal working. I make things like this. [Pulls keychain out of his pocket.] It's a bottle opener and [I think something else, but I can't remember/wasn't paying close enough attention because most of my brain was shouting, "HE THINKS YOU'RE PRETTY!" All I do remember clearly is that it was very shiny and shaped like a robot, leading to my next astute comment.]
Me: It looks like a robot!
Treasure House Man: Yes, that's the logo for my company. So...can I have your number?


Coming soon: Did I give him my number? Did he turn out to be a treasure from the Treasure House? Will I ever not make such obvious, socially awkward statements when someone says I'm pretty?



Related Posts with Thumbnails