Sunday, May 15, 2011

"The curse of eBay," a true story by Margaret Carey

$687 plus shipping and handling
I thought he was watching porn on those nights I would awaken in a menopausal sweat to the hazy chartreuse glow emanating from his office. I’d slink down the hall, shedding my damp garments like a stripper in a cheap whorehouse, arriving unprovocatively naked at his door.

“What are you doing on the computer at this time of night?” I’d whine.

The swift click of the mouse was followed by his standard reply: “Just finishing up a game of chess.”

“Yeah, right,” I muttered as I shuffled back to our bed.

Packages of all shapes and sizes began arriving at our door, bearing postage from exotic destinations -  Thailand, Bali, Tasmania - all addressed to him. I assumed they were gifts and gadgets from his online porn girlies.

After a few months, I asked the postman, whom I had begun to have a mild flirtation with, what all this stuff was. He seemed startled, although I didn’t know if it was from my question or the curious gaze he held towards the new coral goddess lipstick I’d worn just for him. He said he didn’t know exactly what was in the packages but suggested, due to similar mail deliveries at other addresses, that it was likely products from eBay.

“eBay! You mean my husband’s buying stuff on eBay?”I exclaimed in complete and utter surprise, followed rapidly by a hiccup of anxiety mixed with relief. Could this be the reason I couldn’t balance our cheque book anymore?

My husband did have the courtesy to blush when I asked him about the $2,467.54 that had gone from our account to something called PayPal in the last month. A long list of bizarre objects rattled rapturously from his lips. He described the pleasure and excitement he experienced in auction. Objects he was devastated to lose or orgasmic in winning. I was shocked by the intensity of his obsession and by the uncontrolled attraction he held for this computer site. I felt a pang of jealousy and hurt that he certainly didn’t love me that way anymore.

Was our marriage in as much trouble as the rapid decline of our finances?

I began to recognize the particular look that appeared in his eyes when he was involved in a poignant bidding war. I ceased being alarmed and resentful when he left me alone at all hours of the night, although I was livid when he cancelled our anniversary dinner because the final bid for a set of silk Armani ties was on that night. A steady stream of stuff began to saturate its way into our lives. Haitian voodoo dolls, an Irish rabbits foot, a box of 6487 flies to catch trout with, lederhosen, for god’s sake.

I remembered the advice of a very clever colleague who worked from the premise that if you want someone to change try to become a little bit more like them. So one night, armed with an 8 ounce glass of Chardonnay, I plunked myself down in front of what I was now secretly calling our “at home ATM” and ventured into the land of looking at small pictures of stuff you didn’t really think you wanted to buy but after sitting there for a few hours you desperately thought you did.

I love art, so zoomed into a spectacular gallery selling modern art, my fav. I eventually found something I knew I could afford and focused intently on a 6” x 8” pencil drawing by Picasso. The auctioneers could not actually authenticate it because it was likely done when he was quite young, but the signature was close and it was only $687 plus shipping and handling.

I went to bed that night with visions of the Picasso drawing dancing through my thoughts and dreams. Only 17 hours 53 minutes to go.

It was like having a seizure the moment I realized I was becoming just like him.

We settled into a routine. I never ventured onto eBay again after realizing my sheer stupidity at believing I was buying a Picasso on the computer for $600. He began to ask if he could buy such and such. Significantly fewer packages arrived and, although I missed the mailman a bit, life took on a more even and pleasant tone...

Until we went on a blue drink beach vacation. Upon boarding our flight, he proudly presented me with a red leather Ray Ban sunglass case. Inside was a  pair of vintage mermaid sunglasses, complete with multiple teeth marks imprinted on the arms, and the name Molly Morrelli embedded in gold on the case.

“eBay,” he smiled at me.

“Thanks so much” was my sarcastic reply.

Out of a sense of polite obligation, I put the sunglasses on and jerked my head around, trying to figure out who was yelling so loudly into my ear with a heavy New York accent. With no one around, I realized the voice was insisting I tell that fat broad next to me to move her butt off the armrest or she’d make sure she’d get a dose of the clap. I realized then that the voice was seeping from the dental imprints on my glasses.

I tried to talk to Molly’s imprints, but all she did was interrupt and bitch about her no good son who’d sold all her stuff on eBay so he could buy his white trash girlfriend a better apartment in the Bronx. He grew up on Long Island, so what’s he doing with that piece of crap?

On the beach I found my husband, sporting my glasses, trying to find a nice patch of sand because, he said, he had to pee a slur of profanity in front of the bore on the beach chair next to him. He insisted some loud voice kept telling him to do it. When he started to pull down his trunks, I snatched the glasses off his head and tossed them into the ocean. Ramirez, our trusty beach guard proudly returned them to me a few hours later.

When we got home, we put the sunglasses for sale on eBay. They were bought by a Taiwanese woman who was into S&M. I’ve not had the good fortune yet to find a site where I could put my husband up for auction.

Margaret Carey has a Masters degree in Art Therapy. She lives in Burlington with her hubby, two collies, two Siamese cats and three piranhas,who don't always get along well. She is new to creative writing and thanks Brian Henry for his encouragement in her endeavors.

See Brian Henry's schedule here, including writing workshops and creative writing courses in Toronto, Etobicoke, Mississauga, Brampton, Georgetown, Oakville, Burlington, Hamilton, Kitchener, Guelph, Woodstock, London, Orangeville, Barrie, Gravenhurst, Muskoka, Peel, Halton, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent...loved it...having had the Ebay experience, I could relate


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