Thrift Shops and Time Warps

Photo of an old many-paned window

Attic Window

I spent today with a friend wandering around a large wholesale gift show, having lunch, and then, for lack of a better idea, going to a thrift store we’d passed many times but never went into. We love thrift stores: the treasure-hunting aspect being foremost, though there is the consideration of triumphing with a great bargain or two. At any rate there we were in one of the most trashy thrift stores I’ve ever been in. Piles of dishes, books, appliances, and sporting goods spread out on tables and other flat surfaces, chairs and sofas lurking in the gloom, racks of clothing pushing up against each other, piles of shoes and purses, unidentifiable objects on the floor – it was overwhelming. Pools of light from the windows and a few sparsely placed light bulbs contrasted with the shadowy corners. Up front by the door the owner chatted cheerfully with the occasional customer paying for a pile of treasures.

I poked through a pile of old books and then, remembering the bags of books (and other junk) I had at home to go through, declined to look any more lest I be tempted to buy. I looked for my friend to tell her I’d be waiting outside, but she seemed to have vanished into the twilight atmosphere. Since today was a rare warm day with sunshine, the outside drew me through the door and across the street to sit on a bench and wait for her to finish. Time passed. More time passed. I went back into the store to look again and still could not locate her. Back I went across the street to wait, thinking I could not have missed her and that she had to use that door to get outside.

I watched the traffic and my mind drifted. What if she had picked up the wrong object, one which acted like some sort of Portkey out of Harry Potter and she was now in a different country, looking around dazedly, thinking damn, now I’m too far to walk home? What if picking up a different sort of object transported her back in time to her beginnings or even farther, giving her the opportunity to change how her life unfolded? What if that object put her into another probability where she became someone else? Or it might be even possible that something she touched dragged her into her future where she met her grandchild grown up, recognizing him by the shape of his face and the color of his eyes?

Magic does happen all the time though we mostly don’t recognize it. Call it coincidence, synchronicity, daydreaming, we play with probabilities as easily as we breathe. Changing a thought or a viewpoint changes the way we live our lives, though mostly these changes happen so smoothly we don’t see them as such. Ever remember an event nobody else in your family does? Ever meet well-known friends who turned into strangers? Ever cross the street and not reach the other side? You’ve shifted probabilities. Imagination if you will, but who can truly define reality? Much more fun to say it is what you say it is and when.

I went back into the store a second time to find my friend at the checkout counter buying several old record albums she’d discovered buried in a pile. Cheerfully paying for her purchases she tucked them into her carry bag and said I know what I’ll be doing later on, if I can find my old record player and hook it up. Magic. Time travel in a practical way, I guess. At least she knows where she’ll find herself.

This time.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. NashvilleAppliance
    Feb 04, 2012 @ 16:56:11

    Niceeeeeeee

    Reply

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