I think the major thing (besides income) I have missed about being employed is the absence of story-fodder. Doing estate sales in the national capital region always provides plenty of raw material, which I miss staying in what to these Beltway dwellers is a provincial backwater (albeit one which many of them have visited at least once to attend a certain PGA golf tournament).
I drove up on Wednesday to assist with a sale at a 12,000-square foot (not counting the guest house and garage) former ambassador's residence. My boss had saved me the library to price. I organized it Wednesday night (I went directly to the house on coming to town and started working), and I managed to price it all in 5.5 hours Thursday--thank God for multi-volume series! We were slammed, with ongoing lines, all three days--I knew I couldn't get to church and thence to work on time Sunday, so I didn't try. Tanya, the girl who took over jewelry responsibilities from me after I moved away, did a phenomenal job--she's hyper-organized, and both costume and fine pieces sold like the proverbial warm pastries.
The sale was a dramatic illustration of how vastly moneyed and connected people are hereabouts, and how relatively poor and uninfluential folks are in my hometown. Not just the size of the house (not a McMansion, but an old palatial dwelling from Vanderbilt days), but the exceptional quality of the contents was immediately apparent: handmadr rugs throughout, eighteenth and nineteenth-century museum-worthy oil paintings. A 12-foot diameter dining room table, chairs upholstered in Scalamandre fabric, hand-carved details on the sideboards and cabinets, leatherbound gold-embossed books, White House knicknacks gifted by former POTUSes, and a kitchen larger than many entire apartments filled with Villeroy & Boch and Mackenzie-Childs. And there were entitlement attitudes among some of the customers which rivaled the dimension of the kitchen. Thankfully, most people were pleasant and civil, but there were a few stinkers--all rich white people who apparently were used to having their way in all things and not at all used to having to wait in line with the plebians. So what if you know that famous person or are the Congressman's cousin or had dinner with the Vice President last week, or have a whole school at one of the local universities named after you?! I hate the entitlement attitude, and yet I know I've got at least shreds of it left. But gosh, I now understand why there were revolutions against the aristocracy. That sort of "I exist, have money and power and beauty and thus you should lick my boots" behavior is totally galling. I don't care whether you are spending $10,000 or $10, you ought to respect others, not march right by like the rules don't apply to you. I was verbally abused by one of these young lords, whom I made return outdoors after he swept grandly past several women who'd been patiently waiting their turn. What an ass. He castigated me for my rudeness as if I were a scullery maid. I shook for half an hour after the encounter until God gave me peace.
Speaking of peace, the former coworker with whom I'd had my own prideful conflict with (recorded in the post "Bossy Non Boss") and I are entirely reconciled. It felt really good to know that all is well! I hate having lingering ill-will with colleagues!
Dex took me out to a fabulous Russian-Uzbek restaraunt in Ballston Friday night. It was home-cooked yumminess from appetizer to dessert. We shared six dishes and two slices of cake. My tummy was full and happy.
I have to return to GA on Thursday because Mums and I are to go down to Grandmommy's on Friday and thence to Florida (to see my niece and nephew, who are on vacation there) on Saturday, but I am trying to work as much as possible beforehand. Monday, I joined a team preparing the sale of the house contents of a former Vice President's mistress, who was a friend of Emily Post and other notables. There's a signed Andy Warhol print snd more than 40 lbs of sterling silver, including two mint julep cups personally inscribed to the lady and her husband on their wedding day from President Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson. Cool stuff, but I will be glad to be back in the normal world soon!