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photo of cowboy jacket

We have moved across town to our friend’s flat while she is in Hawaii so that the estate-sale people could organize and tag and display the things we left behind. Robin Caton, our sale maven, suggested I visit the sale at the opening minute – 9 AM – when the most…er, colorful…people push their way in after standing in a chilly early morning queue.

I took the bus (our car is in the tag sale) and thus missed the opening minute. On the bus, I read a story about a $3 tag-sale find somewhere that turned out to be a rare Chinese bowl worth $2.2 million. Oops. I fretted all the way across the river about what I might have left behind in what used to be the comfortable, private, well-functioning apartment that Tom and I once shared.

I worried that I’d find my red suede fringed cowboy jacket on sale for a dollar, and grungy shoppers wandering around openly sneering at our taste. I feared that people were dismissing my homemade jewelry and smirking at the greasy residue on the spice bottles. I also feared finding something tremendously valuable that had accidentally been left behind, now in the clutches of an excited treasure hunter who was sprinting away from the cashier.

photo of estate sale

A flea market? No. It used to be our apartment.

But no. In the apartment, perfectly respectable people were wandering about quietly, almost reverently, perusing the goods. An unsteady stream of folks approached Robin with found treasures, none of which I wanted back. And the only remark I heard was really tame. “Somebody’s favorite color must be red,” an unfamiliar woman said, fingering my old crimson silk robe. “Not mine.”

After one quick tour, I left the apartment in Robin’s hands. On the bus back, I read another story proposing that Portland’s fifteen minutes of fame as a mecca for food, coffee, beer, wine, and television is nearly over. Portland is allegedly losing its luster, and also losing us. Coincidence?

Then I read further and discovered the Lufthansa strike. We’re flying Lufthansa to Barcelona next weekend. Surely it will be settled by then.

I put the paper away. I read too much, anyway.

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