“Meet me in the parking lot behind the strip mall on 114th street in one hour. Watch for a white station wagon. Bring cash.”
“How will I know you?”
“Hey, I’m the one with the goods. How will I know YOU?”
“Green car, brown hair, glasses, and a red sweater. Will it be DISCRETE?”
“Yeah, in a garbage bag.”
I was there first. The guy mowing the lot behind the store looked at me oddly as I parked by the dumpsters. Someone brought some items out to the trash and asked me if I needed help. She eyed me warily, commented that the dumpsters were for store use only (did she see the garbage bag in back?) Two people peeked out a back window of the store. A red pickup drove by. Finally a small green car pulled up, a woman stepped out, peered around, then walked over. The deal was done quickly. She could hardly wait to break the bag open, but managed to only peek.
And then she proceeded to tell me how her husband would object if he knew she was buying this. She will have to sneak it in while he is at work and hide it in the basement. I knew she was a true addict. She had layers of her life concealed from her family; avoidance and denial were helping her ‘hide’ her addiction. I was her enabler, her dealer, bringing her a fix.
Driving home, I felt like it. My dining room table was covered with bits measured and ready to package. I had plastic bags of every size ready to be filled. There was a higher demand for it than I had expected. Most my buyers came to me, but sometimes, like today, we split the distance and met in between.
I deal in stash. If you follow my blog, you know I have been on a quest to reduce my fabric stash, and have been purging, donating, selling, and occassionally even throwing bits of fabric away. After living in one home for a three decades, and inheriting stashes from relatives, well, I am buried in it. Time to move some on to others.
Mostly these are small deals. Sets of fabric squares, gallon bags of tiny scraps. But occassionally, like today, I pack up an entire garbage bag full of fabric pieces large and small. These I pop on Craigslist. I figure that other addicts, pardon me, quilters, will pay a few dollars to get take home a veritable “fabric exploring adventure” and help out a grossly underemployed peer at the same time.
I meet some very interesting sewers this way, and hear some fascinating reasons for wanting the instant fabric stash. One is making charity quilts, another is just starting and has no stash of her own. Someone is trying to make various bags and pockets for use on wheelchairs, another person sews clothes for dogs. Most just want more fabric to play with. Some become repeat customers.
But I am struck by the fact that all but two of my ‘junkies’ are sincerely plotting ways to hide their ‘score’ from loved ones. The will sneak it in, bury it away, only pulling out bits and pieces when needed while acting as though it had been there forever. Even this great bargain, certainly not a huge extravagance, is to remain a secret.
And the two who are not clandestine buyers? I am happy to say one has become a good friend. I know her husband might roll his eyes at the whole thing occassionally, but he knows it is a real outlet for her. The other one was a real surprise, after all these secretive women. The husband of a quilter, buying for his wife. She was laid off from work, money was tight, but he wanted to give her spirit a lift with something she would enjoy.
Is this sense of secrecy a reality for many of you? Do you too ‘sneak’ in purchases? Do family members roll their eyes when you come home delighted with your new fabrics or notions? Or do they support you in your passion for quilting, sewing, fabric collection, whatever part of the craft that you love? Please comment and share your experience with us!