The R.P. is beginning to wonder if he made a colossal mistake this past weekend.
Now, admittedly, “colossal” might be a bit hyperbolic, but please, allow me to explain.
While trying to waste a few minutes, I was frequenting an antique store which I hardly ever frequent (because this R.P. tries, at all costs, to hardly ever frequent any antique store whatsoever), when I came across a mirror propped up on the floor against a bunch of other mirrors. “Whoopdeedoo!” I can hear my readers exclaiming. “You saw a mirror. You must be very proud of yourself. Perhaps the next time you see a coffee table or a magazine rack, you should throw a parade.” But this mirror was a special mirror. “Oooh! A special mirror.” Yes, a special mirror. “Oooh,” I can hear my readers saying again, “a special mirror. Maybe the R. P. thinks of himself as a literary Snow White. ‘Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the cleverest one of…’”
This Recent Paterfamilias is beginning to wish that the readers in his head would just be quiet and let him get on with it.
This was a special mirror. It was round. This mirror itself was convex and a foot wide. It was surrounded with a wood frame with small round orbs carved into it and an American Eagle, wings akimbo, perched atop. This special mirror is actually a kind of mirror, one which this R.P. has been obsessed with for several years. It’s called a “Federalist” mirror, it’s a staple in American folk art, and all the ones the R.P. has previously come across typically run anywhere between $2,500 and however much you want to spend.
Just for fun, I inquired with the shopkeeper how much she wanted for this one.
She said 350.
And the store was having a Presidents’ Day sale. Everything was twenty percent off.
“So that would make it 280,” she said. “Plus tax, of course.”
“Of course,” I replied. “Plus tax.”
What a boon! the Recent Paterfamilias told himself. For years he’d been searching for just this kind of thing, and then here it was, at a fraction of the going price. It needed restoration certainly, but it wasn’t like it was falling apart, it wasn’t like the convex mirror was split in twain, making the viewer’s reflection something grotesque and unnatural.
And then the Recent Paterfamilias was forced to ask himself a practical question: “Where am I going to hang it?”
Now, I wouldn’t say that the R.P. and the wife of the R.P. are art collectors, per se, but we have some pieces, some good, some pretty good, and some crap, but really the point here is, we have everything situated on the walls like we like it. We also don’t have an overly large apartment, so we therefore don’t have unlimited wall space. Something would have to come down for this mirror to go up. So which one was it going to be? Who was going to get the axe?
Ultimately, I told the shopkeeper that I wanted to think about it, then I exited the store, leaving the mirror where it was, on the floor, and as far as I know, that’s where my mirror is now. Unloved, on the floor, collecting dust and totally underpriced, simply because this Recent Paterfamilias was unable to make the sacrifices necessary for it, the mirror, to join his, the R.P.’s, collection.
This Recent Paterfamilias is beginning to suspect that he might have made a terrible mistake.
I miss my mirror.