Friday, March 9, 2012

Wherever The Day Takes You

I took my first official road trip of the year. Well, it wasn’t really a road trip.  It was only about a hundred miles...round trip.  And it wasn’t on a motorcycle.  But it was on a road.  After an extended period of not getting out much, I wanted to get back to my original intent for this “What’s Your Road” blog.  Specifically, traveling to different and unusual places near and far, then report my experiences, observations and opinions.  Or, travel to familiar places and try to see them from a different perspective.  All in hopes of encouraging others to seek out new experiences for themselves and see things in a new light or with a more creative eye.  It’s fun.  And you don’t have to go very far. Sometimes only about a hundred miles round trip.
For my latest adventure I decided to check out the abundance of antique stores in the area.  First stop – The Bag Lady Antique Mall.  The name alone makes you want to go inside.  So I went inside.  Almost immediately I spied something sitting on a desk behind the counter that stopped me in my tracks.  It was an old black and white photograph of Audrey Hepburn in the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s.  I know old photos of Audrey Hepburn are fairly common, and I’ve probably seen most of them (big fan) but I had never seen this exact image before.  It was small, maybe a 4 x 6, but it was very cool and I wanted it.  This particular photo was on a desk behind the counter.  The Bag Lady herself was there that day so I said I would like to buy it.  She turned me down!  “Not for sale,” she said.  I told her I was willing to make a very reasonable offer, but she was firm.  I was a little upset...until she explained. The picture had been a birthday gift from her friend, and she considered it a prized possession.  One she would never sell to anyone for any price.  It was obvious I was not going to change her mind, but that's ok.  I’m actually pleased to be reminded that there are some things that money can’t buy.  So there was that, plus there was sort of a mini art gallery in the back of the store with some very nice Ansel Adams prints.  I didn't buy any art.  But I did get two records for a buck.

Upon leaving the store I happened to glance down an alley as I passed by and noticed an entrance to a building marked by twin doors painted bright red.  The color was in stark contrast to the drab walls and it struck me as a cool photo opportunity.  So I grabbed my cameras...a film and a digital...from my car to take a few shots.  About this time a very well dressed woman in a short skirt and heels came around the corner, shuffled up next to these red doors, leaned back against the wall, tossed a tiny smile my way, took out a cigarette and lit it.  When I say "well dressed" I mean slightly revealing.  Not sleazy, but definitely not conservative either.  Are you seeing where I'm going with this?  Heels.  Short skirt.  Smoking.  Red door.  Now get those thoughts out of your head because it's NOT what you're thinking. She obviously worked in a store or office close by and was just taking a smoke break.  But it did look kind of bad.  I wanted to say something like "Lady! Dig yourself will ya?"  But I didn't say anything.  I just took the pictures and moved on like there was nothing to see.  And I guess there wasn't really.

Next stop - St. Joe Antiques Mall.  I hit the jackpot at this place!  After a considerable time of wandering in and out of the multitude of displays and booths on the main level without success I moved down to the lower level.  And there it the bottom of the stairs...on the shelf right in front of to a ceramic chicken..the camel.  The hairiest, ugliest, oddest looking item I had seen so far that day.  I had to have it.  But there might be problem.  After careful examination I could not find a price.  That did not bode well, as it could mean it would turn out to be a very expensive camel. Since I did not come to this place with unlimited resources and money was, in fact, an object, I attempted to play it cool and not let on that I really wanted that camel.  "How much for the camel?" I said casually to the man behind the counter.  He inspected it, said he needed to check with someone else, then proceeded upstairs to parlay with the resident camel expert.  After a few minutes had passed he came back down with a look on his face that I took to mean "you can't afford THIS camel."  But then the words I wanted to hear came next..."two dollars."  Well that settled it.  "I'll take it!" I fired back.  Now, I must admit that those who have seen this camel since it's acquisition have not been nearly as enthusiastic about it as I am.  So take a look and decide for yourself.   Pretty cool, huh?

One more thing - what's with all the chickens?  Every store I visited that day in four different towns had chickens.  Lots of chickens.  Plaster chickens, glass chickens, rubber chickens, metal chickens.  All styles, sizes and manner of chickens.  Has it always been this way and I just never noticed before? Or, is this whole "chicken" thing a rather recent phenomenon?  I think we should keep an eye on the situation.  We don't want it to get out of hand.

So, you see...what could have been a rather uneventful day, turned out to be just the opposite. Not in any truly meaningful, life-changing way, but still fun and interesting nonetheless.  I hope I've illustrated (in my rambling, slightly curious way) that any day can be an enjoyable and fun day no matter what road you're on.  Because everybody has a road.  What's yours?