yesterday i had time to spare between appointments so i stopped at one of those "old stuff for cheap" stores to have a look around.
after all you know the saying; one man's junk is...
the store itself is old, poorly lit, and dusty, with aisles overly filled with random "stuff." i wasn't even sure where one was supposed to start.
so i began my hunt in the left front corner.
as i walked i wondered whether working my way from left to right is a habit that stems from learning to read.
there must be scientific proof from a highly subsidized government study out there somewhere. and then logic would then say that people in china always start at the right front...
pondering my logic - or lack thereof - i turned a corner.
i stopped short.
there on the floor a male sat cross legged with a suitcase balanced on his knees.
on top of the suitcase was an array of trading cards. more cards were swiftly being spread out and the spread continued on the floor around him.
i must have stood there in his space for a beat too long because his hands suddenly stopped shuffling the cards and he looked up.
red faced he said; "i bet you think it ridiculous for a 27 year old man to be sitting on the floor sifting through trading cards don't you?"
"actually no. farthest thing from my mind." i had noticed, however, that the cards were being spread from left to right. ;)
"it's just that i started collecting when i was a kid and there are now only four i need to complete the set and it's become an obsession."
"i'd help if i knew what you were looking for."
"thanks, but it wouldn't be the same if you found it."."
"i suppose not."
""don't know what i'll do with my time if i ever do find them. my entire life will probably be over.."
"i'm sure you'll find another quest."
"thanks. i hope so. happy shopping." he says. and i continue on my way.
two aisles further i hear him hoot. i yell back asking if he's found one of them.
"oh yeah!" he says. "the rarest one!"
i smile through the rest of my treasure hunt - which produced a tiny black treasure box - and wander toward the check out.
and there he is. only this time he's a little boy who fears the thing he wants will vanish before before he can get the money out of his pocket. change spills out onto the counter. i swear to you it was pennies and he was counting them in the light that beamed from his face. all one dollar and six cents worth.
"you want these in a bag?" the cashier asks.
"no ma'am, i want to carry them in my own two hands and look at them all the way to the car."
he turns from the register and sees me there.
"my life is now over." he says, still beaming. he starts to walk away and i note the spring in his step. he stops and turns back. "course i still have one album i lost that i've never been able to replace... "