I was awakened abruptly at 8:30 Am Saturday morning and was informed that we were going to an auction. Half awake I muttered a reasonable facsimile of ..."What?...Where?...When?" On my feet and stumbling I managed a muffled "What's this WE stuff?" It's not easy splashing cold water in your face and drink a cup of coffee at the same time. The trick is to remember the correct sequence. Splash! Sip! Slurp! Sip! Aarrghh!
~ The smell of coffee in my moustache ultimately was my co-pilot as I navigated the seven miles to the auction which was to start at 10AM. I was dismayed to see a full lot, as a full lot meant competition.
~ A failed sports bar was the subject of the auction. There were four hundred TV sets, eight pool tables, sports memorabilia, and neon beer signs up for grabs. Of particular interest to me was one of five 40-inch-plus high definition television sets. I had no reason to think that other people, especially the mostly male crowd, would also be interested in HDTV's.
~ As I sat through a stream of various autographed hockey sticks, photographs and even the bright yellow hood of a NASCAR vehicle emblazoned with "Tide," I was glad the other objects were drawing bids. My reasoning was that if they blew $575 for a car hood, they wouldn't have enough left for the TV sets.
~ There were quite a few items on the docket before the first of my items were due, so I took a walk through the huge club. I noticed that no one else seemed to be paying attention to the large screen sets. This was good. So as not to tip my hand, I decided not to inspect them too closely. Of course, it occurred to me that the others were probably acting likewise.
~ I stopped at a couple of the regulation pool tables, dreamily picturing them in my house. It was roughly the same size as the dining room set. Wisely, I dispelled that thought. Besides, I wasn't ready to go to my own funeral, and certainly not as the center piece! I decided to be thankful that a big screen TV was acceptable booty.
~ Finally, the first of the televisions was up for bids. I was able to get in two bids before a bidding frenzy took over the proceedings. My $500 was quickly dwarfed by four other bidders. It went off at $2000, almost half the price for a brand new one. So it was with the next two sets.
~ Now the fourth set was the prize I desired the most. It was a Sony 52-inch HDTV. Knowing that the other ones had sold well beyond my ceiling, I held little hope for this one too. I did manage to flash three bids this time.
~ I turned to my future son-in-law sitting with my daughter behind me. I shrugged my shoulders. He shook his head as I reached up to remove my reading glasses. From the bidding from my turned head, I could tell that two people were bidding against each other in $100 increments. Placing my glasses in my shirt pocket, I turned to watch the action. It was then I realized that my movements had been taken as bids. A bidding war had been waging between me and a man across the room. I had the current highest bid at $1500!
~ They say that your life passes before your eyes when you are at death's door. I could see it now, my obituary was being written right that moment. Thankfully the other man bid $1600 just before the auctioneer could say "Sold!" I froze then and there. In suspended animation, I moved nary a muscle. I had to ignore an itch beside my nose. I was holding my breath. "Sold at $1600 to the man on the left." With that weight off my shoulders, I slipped away my tail tucked between my legs. There were fifteen items to go before the fifth and final set would be up for bids.
~ Outside, the winning bidder came up to me. "I'm glad you bowed out." he said. "That was my limit." I told I had reached my limit too. I wished him luck with his TV and went outside for some fresh air. There was no way that I was going to tell him that he could have it at $600. He wouldn't be a happy camper if he knew my shuffling in my seat had cost him a grand!
~ Needless to say, number five also went off beyond my limit. Since my daughter and her fiancee were interested in a couple of items, I decided to sit with them for a while longer. I shifted in my seat to get comfortable and rubbed my shoulder on the spot of an old injury. "Sold for $50 to the gentleman in the back!"
~ I had just been the sole bidder on something at fifty bucks! For what, I had no idea. I handed my bidding card and the money to my daughter. I told them I would wait for them outside. Twenty minutes later they emerged. She was carrying a bag I assumed to be my "prize." The two of them were laughing. That didn't bode well, I thought. But I had learned a lesson, and I had learned it well. I would never go to an auction unless I was shackled to a chair.
~ Shortly, we left in our separate vehicles. They had come out empty-handed. The neon Samuel Adams beer signs had gone off for more than he was willing to pay. As they went to their house one way, I went the opposite to my own home. I had some explaining to do, that was for sure! I could hear it then, "You paid $50 for that?!" With the Beatles' "Can't Buy Me Love" on the radio I followed my hood homeward.
...By the way, anyone interested in a likeness of Arnold Palmer made out of dried raisins?