I’ve honestly forgotten how many times we’ve attended the Pilchuck Glass School Auction, but I think it’s been about fifteen in the last sixteen years.
Just Looking. Dan feeling alone together while drinking away his resolve to pinch pennies…
We missed the auction last year, the first time in a decade. So why this year did everyone hit me with: “it’s so good to see you coming to the auction again” like we’d been on some interminable boycott until this weekend??
It’s because everyone watches everyone at this thing:.
• Artists watch their work.
• Artists watch people watching their work.
• People watch other people watching the work they want.
• Husbands watch wives watching work they’re afraid she’ll buy.
• Wives watch husbands watching them watch the work they’re going to buy no matter what he says.
• Finally, you don’t even need to be there to have your not being there watched.
Just Playing. OK, so some artists would rather dink with their own choo-choo trains than watch the action.
On the train ride up to Seattle from Portland my own husband declared emphatically “we’re NOT buying anything this weekend.” (He’s still whining about the week in the Tuscan villa for 10 that we’ve owned for the last week because I adore a certain animal hospital.)
Dan’s heel-digging prompted me to put a guaranteed bid on the first item I couldn’t live without in the silent auction, a Jiri Harcuba monoprint.
Dan doesn’t know how lucky he is. I saw lots of other stuff that I liked a lot, but either I bid too low or only watched.
(That’s barely the tip of the kiln-glass iceberg that was pretty imposing at the auction this year. For brevity’s sake, I’m skipping mention of the artists regularly shown in our gallery and the awesome group of Bullseye past and current employees with works at this year’s event.)
I was close to doing more damage to Dan’s credit card (what, register MY card at the express pay desk?!), when I glanced across a small island of pedestals and, through the haze of my third champagne, saw him in one of those intensely trivial conversations with a stranger.
She: “So, is that YOUR number below mine on that bid card?”
He: “Yeah, whatchya gonna do about it?” (Did he really think he could egg someone else’s wife over the Guaranteed Bid edge?)
She: “This, Buddy.
The room started to spin as the disembodied voice overhead rumbled “…4 seconds left to bid on items in the red section…”
He: “I know guaranteed bids and that’s not one. Here, watch this, Honey!”
Granted, it was only a minor skirmish in an evening of much bloodier battles. But, as the quality of my photos show, I was losing all focus. And Dan was losing the battle of will over wallet. Maybe we’ll skip it again next year. Watching can be expensive.