Skip to content

Sunday, January 29th

January 29, 2017

I know I said I was going to give myself Sundays off, but… Fuck, fuck, fuckety fuck, fuck, fuck. On multiple fronts.

Front one: After waxing lyrical yesterday about how much I’d accomplished the day before by not turning the computer on first thing in the morning, the act of turning the computer on first thing in the morning to write those words led to getting almost nothing accomplished. Stupid fucking spider solitaire. Stupid fucking me.

Front two:  As I mentioned when I wrote about replacing the Echo, after the performance of my one-act play in March, I’m supposed to start work on directing a full play about used car salesmen. I really should have been putting some prep work on this, but, honestly, I was having too much fun with the rehearsals to think about anything else. This week I finally did give it some thought. I knew I had one actor lined up to play one of the salesmen and I knew who I wanted for the other. I was pretty sure he’d be interested, but I hadn’t actually contacted him about it. A couple of days ago I did. Yes, he would have been interested in auditioning, but he and his daughters are heading off to Italy for nearly a month in April and May. This was very bad news. It’s a good play, but you need a strong actor to pull off the role of Phil. I already knew several other possible actors were either not available or absolutely unwilling to try to learn that many lines. Fuck. Our little theatre group has established a reputation for mounting semi-professional productions. This one (assuming anyone could be found who was willing to take the role on) would not meet those standards without a strong lead. So, I had to contact the board to let Houston know we had a problem. Now there is a mad scramble to find a replacement play. Fuck.

Front three: There is a very active artistic community on the island. (I believe there may actually be more artists per capita here than anywhere else in the country.) There is also a very active arts council. In the spring there is an Isle of the Arts week, during which various artists offer workshops in their particular field. Thanksgiving weekend there is the popular studio tour. In between there are arts council fundraising events featuring the sale of themed pieces of art created by locals. I generally avoid these events, because I know from past experience that I will be tempted and will end up spending money I can’t afford.

Five years ago a friend visited me Thanksgiving weekend with the specific purpose buying a piece of art. I drove her around various studios. She didn’t buy anything, but I came home with a $175 mirror with a beautiful art deco woodwork frame. (Don’t get me wrong. I love that mirror. I’ve never regretted buying it. And I was still getting freelance work in those days, so, in the greater scheme of things, I could actually afford it.) A couple of years ago I made the mistake of going into a gallery during the studio tour weekend. There was a framed print by a local photographer that I absolutely loved. It was $200. I bade it a regretful farewell, carried on doing the day’s various errands, came home. Then I thought about the print again. Then I went back to the gallery, hoping someone else had bought it. No one had. I did. (This was when my UK journalist pension did leave me a bit of financial wiggle room, before the fucking Brexiters devalued it by 20% overnight.)

So, when a mate asked me if I fancied going to last night’s Tempest in a Teacup fundraising art auction, I said no, thanks to the car accident, I couldn’t afford a glass of wine, let alone the cost of admission. She offered to pay for both. It felt churlish to say no. We went. We wandered around, looking at the art up for sale. (A few pieces were to be auctioned off, but most were being sold by silent auction.) Fortunately nothing really grabbed me. Phew. We got a drink, mingled for a while. There’d been a bit of a crowd at the entrance when we arrived, so I’d missed the first batch of art. I went back have a look. Uh, oh. One of the pieces was an actual miniature tempest in a cup. It was beautiful. I knew exactly where I would put it. I looked at the silent auction sheet. The artist was looking for a minimum bid of $125. Bollocks. I really could not afford that. I walked away, found my mate, told her I’d fallen in love with this piece. She suggested bidding $100 to see what would  happen. I did. Went back twenty minutes later. My bid had been crossed out and the $125 minimum written again below my offer. Oh, what the hell. If I’d been willing to go to $100 (kidding myself that the soon-to-arrive cheque from ICBC meant I had some spare cash, rather than what it really meant: that I could reduce my line of credit debt),I could go another $25. I picked up a pen and wrote on the line below my original bid: “Oh, well, worth a try, given how broke I am.” Then I wrote in a bid of $125. Over the course of the evening, I checked regularly. No one had added a bid. Gulp. Okay, I couldn’t afford it, but I didn’t care. I was already imagining the pleasure I would have every time I saw it in my house. An announcement was made that bidding would end in five minutes. I checked again – still only one bid. I went to pee. I came back, walked to the relevant table.

In the four minutes I was gone, someone had placed a higher bid. They won. I could probably have shaken this off, shrugged and pretended to be pleased that someone had saved me from myself. Except the bid had been placed by a couple I knew, people I like. People I’ve always thought liked me. I’d told them earlier in the evening about bidding on the tempest in a tea cup. They told me which pieces they were planning to bid on and the piece I loved was not one of them. My name was the only one on the sheet. They knew how much I wanted it. If, in the spirit of fundraising for a worthy cause, they’d bid $50 more than I had – or even $25 – I might have been able to accept it, but their bid was for $5 more than mine. I couldn’t believe it.

I actually cried when I came home. Have I been oblivious for years? Do these people hate me? Why would they do something so sneaky, so cruel? Why, why, why? I’ve now slept on it and I still can’t believe it.

Seriously, is it just me or was that fucking mean?


  1. krysross permalink

    nasty. really. sorry.

  2. Catherine Stewart permalink

    That’s rough. Sorry. Try not to take it too personally, though. Bottom line: All’s fair in love – and art. I’ve been there – on both sides. A lot of people wait til the last minute of a silent auction to bid. That’s usually when the scramble begins. Once a friend and I were after the same item and kept upping each other’s bids by $1.00. She managed to squeeze in right before the bell, got to the pen before me and scored the piece we both wanted. Damn! But – c’est la vie. She wanted it as much as I did. Then last year – I was the dirty rat who outbid another friend at the last minute. I noticed she was distracted and with 15 seconds left on the clock I swooshed in to raise her by $1.00 one last time. She groaned when winning bids were read and cursed me – but with good humour. We both knew that’s how it goes. It sucks that you didn’t know you had competition and waxed lyrical to the winners about your love for the piece – and they said nothing. But art is a dirty game. 🙂 They may have coveted it all along, chose not to tell you to keep the bidding down and then did what they’d planned from the moment they saw the piece. So yeah – it sucks to lose, it’s a shame to lose a piece of art you love and it’s a drag you didn’t know you had competition. But that’s art wars in the trenches. People take no prisoners. I really don’t think it’s a personal attack or meant as cruelty. So sorry to hear it felt like that and left you sad. Hope you’re feeling better today. On the good news front – if the artist is local, maybe you can commission her to do another variation of the piece? Hang in there and try to believe this has nothing to do with liking or not liking someone – it’s just art wars. They’re brutal.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: