Biding our time this afternoon in Roncesvalles as we waited for Barque’s All You Can Eat to begin, my girlfriend and I stumbled upon an antiques store. This is far from uncommon for the Roncy/Parkdale corner, but a rare experience for me, in any case. My curiosity was piqued by a few metal suitcases (which I fancied as Magic the Gathering carry cases). Walking in the front door gave a greatly expanded perspective. Maybe it was The Smiths rattling out from the in store speakers, but I had a feeling in my gut synonymous with home. I couldn’t put my finger on what precisely triggered it, but I felt comforted. Settled.
Trinkets and treasures ranged across cultures and decades. Strewn across the store were a 12 rows of seating lifted from a cinema. My girlfriend pulled out a telescope that could’ve served in a crow’s nest. An old lamp with a thin filament bulb stood atop an weathered glass cabinet. A tiny pedestal held an archaic bowling ball with etched rings. There were moose antlers and bull horns. Several typewriters of varying sizes. Vintage sunglasses and an array of dresses that spanned seasons. A set of opaque orange dishes of an unknown material. Crime novels and kids comics, salacious stories from yesteryear. A shiny lion sculpture with a dark blue hue.
I wandered through the store touching things, picking up these relics of unknown history. Often I’d pause and contemplate the life of a piece, how it came to this exact store. Was it an estate sale? An elderly family member downsizing when moving into a home? Collectors giving up the ghost and moving on? How many lives had these artifacts touched? How many other hands had clutched them in the same manner I had? Who had I indirectly come into contact with through non-linear time?
A few objects sparked memories of my childhood. A rotary phone spoke to one that hung in the entranceway to our home. My friends and I used to wind the crank, pretending to call one another. A rusted blue vice hearkened back to my father’s workbench, where we’d stand around as a family and crack macadamia nuts. Other family relics flashed through my head. The gilded Asiatic room divider we passed from family member to family member. The ring my brother inherited from my grandfather. Inlaid with some gem, any light caused a star pattern to stretch across its blue surface. The limestone bear sculpture I carried with my from flat to flat. So heavy, but so fragile. Despite my best efforts to swaddle it in blankets, each move brought with it new scars.
I cast my mind ahead to the future, imagined what, if anything I would pass on. Do I own anything I’ll still own in ten years? Twenty? What in my life has value enough to continue to hold onto? What does “value” even mean to me?
I guess that’s for time to tell.