Black Cats and Hand Slaps: Thrift Shopping

After several years of thrifting hiatus, I’m back. But two years of apartment living in New York taught me several things.

  1. You have to ruthlessly edit your life in an apartment. If not bad things happen. Like you open your closet and large objects fall on your head (happened). Like you come home on a snowy afternoon, frozen to the bone, unlock your door, walk into the entry and fall snow-boots over butt because you have nowhere to put your kid’s art projects (happened).
  2. You can live without “it.” Whatever that thing is, if you don’t have room, and if you don’t shop for it, and you don’t know it exists, you’ll be fine. Just stay off ebay and etsy.
  3. Collect small. I began looking at my small aqua planters in a different light. I could stack and store them in small spaces.

But now that we’re in a house, we have a lot of bare wall space and empty-ish rooms and it makes me twitchy. And as you know it’s SUCH a burden for me to shop flea markets and thrift stores. Ha. No. This stuff is life. I’ve gleefully rejoined the Land of Thrift Store Hunters (that’s a show I would watch).

Last week I set out in my car toward the nearest thrift store, and I had to reassess all of my previous assumptions about the “black cat crossing your path” superstition. I ask you ladies, what happens when a very large black cat charges directly down the center of the street in an aggressive feline game of chicken with your car?

I saw it coming, all panther-like, running down the center of the road, eyes fixed directly on my car, and it did not slow down. I took my foot off the gas, and still it charged. I finally threw on the breaks, stopped the car, and that giant black cat never wavered, running directly up to my car, streaking underneath it, and continuing down the center of the street.

I sat there for a few moments, trying to understand what in the blue blazes I’d just witnessed. Was the cat having a bad day? Did he really hate gray cars? Was he trying to reenact Old Yeller? Was I at the center of some crazy vortex and Doctor Who might pop into the backseat of my car at any moment? I couldn’t figure it out.

When I got to Goodwill I went straight to the art and mirror section, and right off the bat spotted the coolest gaudy mirror/shelf. It was $5. Yes. I went for it like a torpedo, or a fat black cat, and just as I reached my hand out to pick it up, I got slapped.

No seriously.

I was standing there, hand outstretched, when a woman sidled up next to me, and ever so passive-aggressively gave my hand a little flick. I paused, made eye contact with her, and she proceeded to fully slap my hand, and then point to the shelf and then point to herself.  Apparently that black cat wasn’t the only one feeling a little crazy. I’ve never understood folks who throw a hammer instead of giving a hug when they want something. Like, even if you don’t “mean” a nice gesture, it would likely still ensure you get what you want.  A smile makes me turn into putty. A hand slap makes me feel like the Jessica Jones mother in season 2.

So I edged past the woman’s slappy hand and took it anyway.

This shelf shall forevermore be known as the Black-Cat-Hand-Slap shelf. I have no idea what I’m going to do with it. Maybe some crystals. Maybe salt and pepper shakers. But you don’t get these kinds of stories when you retail shop. During our most recent thrift store trip, Jane snatched a giant stuffed monkey off the shelf and yelled at me, “This place is full of treasures! Why would anyone give this away?”

Exactly, kid. Exactly.

4 thoughts on “Black Cats and Hand Slaps: Thrift Shopping

  1. OH. MY. GOD. I literally laughed out loud when i read “So I edged past the woman’s slappy hand and took it anyway.” You go girl =) Hahahahahaha! And by the way, what an AMAZING find. If you ever tire of it, you should get a pretty penny for it.

    Happy Monday


  2. Whoa! That is some serious shopping! So glad you still got your treasure. I recently moved from a teeny house where I was forced to be a minimalist to one where we have some room to breathe. Thrifting is my favorite too!


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