When I was a kid we would spend our Saturday and Sunday afternoons going to the flea markets. I loved the flea market. It was the whole event that fascinated me...each booth had its own unique personality....there was the avid comic book collector that knew every comic ever made and could find the exact one you wanted amidst what appeared to be a gazillion unorganized boxes. And then then depression glass lady who looked like she actually lived through the depression and collected these dishes so she could sell them sixty years later and recover from her financial desolation. And the knick knack lady who collected every breakable thin ever made since 1842. And let's not forget the purse lady who sewed anything imaginable to a purse and called it art -- bottle caps, dried flowers, fake fingernails, and my personal fave -- coffee filters.
Oh yes, the flea market foreshadowed to me what a little piece of heaven would look like -- everyone had their own passion, love and style under one roof and we all loved it -- If just one of them were missing, it just would not be the same. It was not each individual that made it special, it was the collective whole that made it perfect. The flea market -- my childhood piece of heaven.
Another memory I have of the fleas market, is the negotiation. I would watch my dad find an item he was interested in and look it over. This is step one -- looking interested, but not too interested. Maybe calling mom over to take a look and she played into the ''not so interested'' side of the equation. It was all a balance that must be kept in order to solve this complex negation intro. Once interest had been established we now moved onto step two -- the walk away. Now this was always the hardest part for me to endure -- I was afraid we were hurting their feelings. I always felt it was my job to keep the peace in my childhood flea market heaven.
But inevitably the negotiations would begin and I would sit back and watch my dad, the master, do what he does best -- negotiate. A few more walk aways might have to occur, but at the end of the day we prevailed.
Now here is where it gets a little confusing -- I am ashamed to admit it, but the term used by the flea marketians to describe this process was Jewing them down. I know, I know...how awful -- I am not condoning it, I am just telling it like it is.
I did not even know the term Jew yet so I did what I always do -- and honestly still do -- I related it to the closest word that was in my vocabulary. Unfortunately, this is a short list. This time, I transferred it to Chewing them down. This all occurred right when Return of the Jedi had made its debut and my brother had every imaginable Star Wars toy, character, collectible, and bobble head out there. So in my 8-year-old mind, chewing them down received its etymology and was a reference to Chewbacca. Chewbacca would be able to chew anybody down by at least 40%, thus the ultimate flea market negotiator might say, ''Don't you make me go all Chewbacca on you.'' See how this could occur in an 8-year-old's mind?
It was not until I was married and at a church fundraiser that I found out the truth. A man was trying to use his negotiation skills on me, but I saw right through it. He had no clue that he was dealing with a master chewer. I asked a man if he was trying to chew me down. He just stared blankly back at me and my friend had to explain to me the truth. I was devastated. I almost went all Chewbacca on him. But it was no use.
Can you relate? Please don't make me go all Chewbacca on you.