Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Happy Holidays / Is It Over Yet?

Lee Friedlander, West Texas, 1997

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. :)  


Marla said...

Almost over! My 52 year old alcoholic brother who still lives at home with my mom and works only odd jobs for booze money gets food stamps (don't get me started). He graciously "bought" my mom groceries for Thanksgiving Dinner, courtesy of the taxpayers of the State of California. He was sullen all day while I helped her cook the dinner, and refused to eat one bite of what we cooked. I heard him muttering something about me eating his "f'en" food. After I left, he told her that he could be put in jail if the state found out that someone other than himself was eating the food purchased with the food stamps. That's right, he begrudged us the meal, when he's been mooching off my parents for 52 years. I told her I'd be glad to report him immediately. I'm going to see my mom for Christmas, but I'm packing my own lunch.

Jane Droll said...

marla! no offense, but i think i hate your brother! lol

my brother sells herbalife, and my oldest sister is a jesus freak, so i guess we all have a sibling we'd like to stab!

Marla said...

LOL! No offense taken!! At least Herbalife is (kinda) gainful employment. Happy damn Holidays!

Megan said...

Okay, so since having my son Hunter, I've been exposed to meeting 1%ers on a social level (because of baby education classes which all Seattle parents stick their kids in from birth). It's interesting to me to see how their parenting skills vary but that's another story. While I consider myself "fortunate" to be able to stay at home with my child while he's small, sometimes I go over to other houses for play dates and everything I've worked hard for in my life to achieve (purchasing a home, a nice vacation every year, nice clothes and toys for my child, a happy life in Seattle with my husband and child) makes me feel poverty stricken when I start comparing what I see with my own life. It's a fucked up eye opener. Still, I'm incredibly grateful for those baby classes because I've made great mommy friends even if I have to be the "poor friend". New money tends to be nicer though than old (just my perception).

I would imagine that you do very well at work with the 1%ers as I don't think you fluster easily in the face of demanding clients. I would be flustered if Mr. or Ms. Richie Rich called up and wanted me to track down a fancy painting. I'd love the prestige of the job though and probably thrive off of it but I would also get super nervous with who I was dealing with.

I still want to live in LA and I love reading about your shopping trips to the Hollywood Goodwill. Here in Ballard, where I live, I've started thinking hard about not donating to the local Goodwill. I'm tired of seeing all of my affluent neighbors act like vultures at the local Goodwill when they go thrifting. These are people that don't really need my donations. Instead, I've been researching charities that truly help the needy, not the "thrifty" 84% which my neighborhood seems to be comprised of.

Great post as always!

Tiffany Kadani said...

Despite what you think, you have the biggest heart. I hope you're well. Miss you!

Lorena said...

Its been ssooooo long since I read anything from you. I see now that you were tied up with clients.
I have been in both extremes: being somewhere I am the poorest and being someplace I was probably the wealthiest. Its odd at whatever end you may be.
My holidays were ok, spent at home and with just the basics.
I could write a post about my brothers, or at least about one of them.
I guess thats why they say you can't choose family,
in my case I would not have chosen so poorly :(
that of course not in any monetary way.

Lorena said...

Oh I almost forgot: Merry Christmas. HUGS!!