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Charlie Hatton
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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
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Lights! Camera! Auction!

Over the weekend, the missus and I attended a special holiday gala. It was sponsored by a local arts group, and featured live entertainment, a wine tasting and hobnobbing with all manner of cultured neighborly types.

(At least, I think we ‘hobnobbed’. I’m not entirely sure where my ‘hob’ is, or how I’m supposed to ‘knob’ it, honestly. It sounds like the sort of thing I shouldn’t be doing in public. Or with the neighbors. And yet, here we are.)

The highlight of the evening, however, was the silent auction. While the rest of the festivities were ongoing, we were encouraged to bid on various bits of donated goodies — theater tickets, dinner packages, paintings, concert tickets, even a baseball autographed by Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell.

That last one is a non-artsy bone thrown to the riff-raff who always seem to wind up weaseling into these sorts of highbrow fetes. You can’t expect all of the local residents to be refined enough to appreciate the finer things in life.

As the token unrefined weaseling riff-raff — who also happens to be a huge baseball fan — I couldn’t possibly appreciate this more. I even sipped my wine with my pinky out for the rest of the night in support. I’m all about meeting people halfway.

Sadly, I was overruled in my bid for the ball early on by my wife, who informed me that the bidding had already gone out of our rather limited price range. Evidently, I wasn’t the only undercultured heathen in attendance. Seeing my disappointment, she told me to have a look around the auction items, and if I saw something within reason, to place a bid.

That’s when things went downhill like a Josh Beckett fastball.

Eggs. Also? Pepper!

Eggs. Also? Pepper!

I walked around a bit, and found a nice painting entitled Eggs and Pepper. I thought it would look great in our dining room. That’s the picture over there on the right.

I appreciated the composition. I appreciated the subtle palette. And I especially appreciated that a painting titled Eggs and Pepper contained obvious representations of both eggs and pepper. I don’t like to work too damned hard for my art.

So I decided to go for it.

A Gentleman's Bid

A Gentleman’s Bid

Now, I’ve never attended a silent auction before. But I’ve seen auctions occasionally in those newfangled moving pictures and televisional type programs. If you want to make a bid, you raise your hand to let someone know. That’s how it works. So that’s what I did.

(I figured the ‘silent’ part just meant that they had done away with the jackass in the bolo tie behind a podium screaming, ‘Cannagettatwenny? Twennyoverhere, cannagettatwennyfie? Twennyfie, twennyfie, no twennyfie… twennyonce! Tweenytwie! Sooool!!!‘ And thank god for that.)

As subtly as possible, like an old auction pro, I lifted a finger to indicate my interest, as you can see here. I was frankly quite proud of myself in my big boy suit.

Little Bid Over Here?

Little Bid Over Here?

Ten minutes later, I was still standing there with my finger waggling in the breeze. People were starting to give me funny looks, but there was no indication that anyone had registered my bid.

Clearly, it was time to step things up.

I recalled that when I’d seen auctions on TV before, the more hoity-toity bidders would sometimes hold aloft a paddle of some kind to get the auctioneer’s attention. I didn’t have a paddle, of course. That would be too easy.

Luckily, I brought a spatula. That’s called ‘planning ahead’, people.

Silent No Longer

‘Silent’ No Longer

Another five minutes, and I was running out of ideas. The finger didn’t work. The spatula didn’t work. And now there were people opening staring and pointing at me.

Story of my sex life.

So, I did what I always do when this situation comes up in bed.

I got louder, and a little belligerent. That ‘silent’ part of ‘silent auction’ is just a suggestion, right?

Who's Running This Thing?

Who’s Running This Thing?

Well, that didn’t work, either.

And I didn’t see anybody anywhere jotting down bids. Just a bunch of shiraz-slurping suburbanites looking uncomfortable and backing slowly away from me.

On the good side, that meant they were backing away from my painting, too. But what good does that do, if my bid was going unheeded? If a bid falls alone in the forest, does anyone hear it? Is it better to bid than to receive? Can you bid me now?

Who the hell is running this stupid auction, anyway?

Nobody Here But Us Eggs and Peppers

Nobody Here But Us Eggs & Peppers

This was approximately the time at which I was asked to put down the painting and leave. I went peacefully, with some small shred of my dignity left.

Because I knew they left the back door open.

When the coast was clear, I took one last stab at procuring my picture. Like a ninja, I was. A camouflaged ninja. But they found me, anyway. And escorted me out of the building, again. A tad more enthusiastically, this time.

Who knew a wine tasting soiree would have actual bouncers? This is how we learn.

Thanks, Honey!

Thanks, Honey!

At that point, I gave up. Which meant calling my wife, and explaining why I was stuffed upside down in a garbage can in the parking lot. She listened, and informed me that in a silent auction, you write your bids in a little notebook beside each item. Neat. I wondered what that notebook was for.

Then she said she’d be out to rescue me. In thirty minutes or so. An hour, tops.

Ninety minutes later, she pulled me out of the muck and put me on my feet. Also, she had a surprise — with all the commotion around the painting inside, it turns out no one had bothered to make an actual bid. So she jotted down her name, waited out the auction, and wound up as the winner.

To the right, I’ve taken a post-party victory shot with the picture. It’s not my finest — or most photogenic — moment, perhaps, but like they say:

Auction’s well that ends well.

‘Eggs and Pepper’ — going once. Going twice. Sooooool!!!

Permalink  |  6 Comments

6 Responses to “Lights! Camera! Auction!”

  1. kerry says:

    so, do you always bring kitchen utensils with you when you go out for the evening?

  2. Charlie says:

    Well, naturally, Kerry. Doesn’t everyone?

    Of course, it’s usually an eggbeater. You can’t be too careful in the big city these days.

  3. jw says:

    Your poor long suffering wife!

    LOL, you crack me the hell up!

  4. kerry says:

    i’ll have to remember that the next time i’m out late at night. do you think a whisk would work the same?

  5. Charlie says:

    A metal whisk, maybe.

    But if you’re carrying around one of those plastic models, you might as well dump your wallet on the sidewalk and get it over with.

    These are mean streets we’re talking about, here.

  6. kerry says:

    i guess if worse comes to worse, i could always use a potato masher.

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