Saturday, January 30, 2010
Art in the Afternoon
I was back at Goodwill the day before yesterday, and yes, I did buy a couple of books: a stubby 799-page edition of The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James, and Masterpieces of American Indian Literature, a 623-page volume edited by Willis G. Rigier. Total investment: $5.98. But joy of books aside, this was one of those trips where I felt the need to handle as many things as I could — unlikely vases, rusted frying pans, baskets, spice racks, candle holders, dishes, cups, battered hats and coats, artificial flowers, angels with harps, waffle irons, salt shakers, stereo speakers — all the while inhaling the pervasive scent of moth balls, which I imagined poised in waiting avalanches behind each exit marked “Alarm will sound.” A little boy was trying hard to decide if he wanted a stuffed blue dinosaur. His father insisted he make up his own mind. But it isn’t easy to make up your mind with so many objects speaking to you at once — voices the father, bless him, didn’t seem to hear. An hour after I was home, I could still smell moth balls. Their medicinal perfume had attached itself to my whiskers, hair, and clothes. I stopped at a mirror. In the late afternoon light, I looked like a painting from the art aisle: dented and framed, $4.99.
In the Forum: hounded by delivery problems.