A Day at the Auction
It is our first time ever attending an auction. Our friends, Phoebe and Jim, introduce us to this new experience. It is all fascinating, the merchandise, fast-talking auctioneers, the system of holding up a number to indicate interest in an item- not to mention all the free coffee, donuts, and hot dogs one can eat! My husband and I are excited and amazed at the variety of furniture and household goods. We end up buying a wrought iron structure – similar to a baker’s rack – for which we have absolutely no use, nor do we have a place for it. Frankly, we can do without it, but it is fun to buy something! We put it in the garage for the time being.
Then my mother comes for a visit. She has never been to an auction either and I’m eager to show her how items from old estates are bought and sold in the United States. My husband refuses to accompany us; he says he has fear of “buying on impulse” and prefers to stay at home.
I pride myself for not acting on impulse and have no intention of buying anything - only to show my mother how an auction is conducted.
Mother and I browse, she eats a hot dog and I have a cup of coffee. My friends take delight in showing Mother all the merchandise – then they come across several huge hand-made rugs.
“How ridiculous is it for me to even get close to these rugs! I have plenty of Persian rugs at home,” I comment to my mother casually.
“It doesn’t hurt to look,” Mother says while biting into her hot dog.
She spots a huge hand-made Persian rug. It is definitely Persian design, with crimson borders and a medallion in the middle. The rug is semi-folded and Mother keeps looking at it. When the auctioneer displays the rug on the floor, Mother turns to me and says I should bid on it. I cannot believe what I’m hearing.
“But Mom, I don’t need one,” I protest.
“It will look very nice in your living room. Look at the medallion and the design,” she says with conviction. She knows – she has lived with Persian rugs all her life and is knowledgeable about color and design.
Like an obedient daughter, I listen to her and raise my number. Deep inside I feel anxiety and the symptoms of nervous stomach. What will my husband say?
Another hand goes up and a sense of relief comes over me. I’m off the hook. As the auctioneer announces the new price, Mother grabs my elbow and literally shoves my hand up into the air. I’m bidding again. I end up buying that huge rug!
Her enthusiasm about this particular rug is contagious. However, the euphoria of owning a new rug is immediately replaced by the anxiety of how to break the news to my husband!
Flanked by my mother and our good friends, Phoebe and Jim, I walk into the house with downcast eyes. Then Jim walks ahead of us and without any introduction whatsoever, announces the purchase of the rug, and hastily adds that it was a bargain of a price. Faced with a done deal, all my husband can do is shake his head.
I never have gone back to that auction house again. The rug graces the floor of my huge basement, and my mother is pleased with herself for not letting her daughter pass up a good deal.