Lee Friedlander, West Texas, 1997
Yo yo yo. Long time no blog.
How are you faring during the madness of the holiday season? It seems extra nutty to me this year, but maybe that is because work has been so crazy busy. Good sales are a plus, and then again they are a minus. Wealthy art buyers are demanding and impatient, and boy am I tired after dealing with a few months of full throttle activity. But, better (whoops, at first I typed "butter" -- all I can think about is food lately!) to have tons of sales than lackluster sales.
A co-worker and I were bitching and moaning about our clientele -- how the majority of them seem to be so impatient, so impractical, so difficult, so demanding. I have often thought it would be nice if our clients and I could have a Trading Places experience, giving me a chance to flit about and buy frivolous things for hundreds of thousands of dollars, and giving them a chance to suffer and serve one-percenters and see what THAT is like.
Then again, we are all crystal clear on our own perspective, and sometimes we don't take time to consider the perspectives of others.
Friday night after work I went out to look for a gift for my boss at the Jonathan Adler store, then my next stop was a Goodwill in Hollywood (talk about two totally different scenes!!!). I was on the prowl for 100% wool sweaters for a holiday project -- my family and I decided to try and make all of our holiday gifts this year, or buy them at thrift stores/yard sales, or give white elephant gifts. LORD I was so excited/nervous at the idea of making gifts this year and it has been fun, but holy hell I have spent a fortune and a huge amount of time trying to create decent gifts that could probably be imported from Bangladesh at fifty cents a pop.
The Goodwill that I went to is in a pretty grubby area, right next to a Dollar store. When I pulled into the parking lot I wasn't sure I wanted to get out of my car. It was quite a scene on a Friday night. Homeless and downtrodden people were out and about, shopping for necessities, or for gifts. I went through many racks of clothing looking for what I "needed". A homeless-looking many kept following me around the store, and dancing around me. I did my best to ignore him as I pawed through the offerings. After finding about 10 sweaters, I made my way to the front counter to make my purchase. But I start feeling bad. Did somebody NEED these $5 sweaters that I was buying for fun? As the sales girl -- wearing blue latex gloves -- inspected my sweaters, she rang up the tally. Forty bucks or so -- more than I really wanted to spend. I pulled out my wallet and tried to hide that I had $200 cash stuffed in my low-end designer wallet and my clearance rack B-level designer handbag, and add to that my gleaming iPhone 5S blaring up at me. I am pretty sure the sales girl took it all in, but she was nice. She wasn't mean. She asked me why I was buying so many sweaters, and she asked me if it was okay that some of them had holes in them. I told her it was fine, and I gave a half-assed explanation that I needed the sweaters for a project. She smiled. She didn't lecture me or roll her eyes at me or wag her finger at me, and she wished me well with my project. She asked if I wanted to donate to some organization or other, and I said sure and gave her another $5. She and her supervisor exchanged a look and I went on my way -- scuttling to get into my car and lock the doors before someone approached me for a handout or tried to jump me. The whole experience gave me a bit of pause. Ugh. I am not wealthy, but all things are relative, and that night I felt a bit of shame for having more than others.
So.....I guess I could stand to be more UNDERSTANDING of others, whether they have a ton of money, or almost none. One of the many things I need to work on in the new year.
Anyway, sorry if this sounds preachy. Hope you have a happy holiday. Hugs, drugs, jugs, thugs...or whatever you want. :)