It was a snow-slushy, sunny day in oil town Alberta when I found myself on a prison break with one of my sister wives, Tinkerbell.
sister wife [sis-ter wahyf]
1. In a polygamous marriage, a woman who is simultaneously the sister and co-wife of another. [Wiktionary]
2. A Mormon co-wife, originating from the Mormon concept of ‘sisterhood’.
3. A female employee working for ‘the man’ within a team of female co-workers; involuntarily co-existing among a smoldering cauldron of estrogen and diverse personalities while striving towards a common goal of gettin’ er dun; sometimes experiencing syncing menstrual cycles and pre-menstrual melt downs.
I rode shotgun as Tinker drove aimlessly, just two girls with no direction (except temporarily away from work). Her voice was casual when she asked, “do you like thrift stores?”
Adrenalin pumped through my arteries like the bass drop of a dub-step song, the same rush I experience when watching youtube videos of Persian kittens being bathed, surfing through feminist ryan gosling dot com, or hearing the intro to Return of the Mack and knowing that the next 3 minutes and 43 seconds of my auditory experience will be fucking bliss.
“I have a raging boner for thrift stores, Tinker.”
It was then that the interior of Tinker’s jeep exploded with hyper-feminine “oh my gods” and the birth of a new comradery based on mutual, thrift-inspired lady-boners. As the decibel of our chipmunk squeals hit brain bleed, we lost traction on a patch of ice and slid towards the intersection ahead. While the slide wasn’t dramatic enough to require the holy-shit handle, it was worrying enough for me to chant in my native tongue of Fucklish.
This is it, I thought. Whether we make the stop, or rear end the Honda in front of us, this moment– right here, right now– will be the climax to my excitement for the day.
We made the stop.
As we exhaled in sync, like the fate of our menstrual cycles, Tinker turned to me with a smile and said, “you lost your stiffy, didn’t you?”
“Yeah, I’m a little flacid right now.”
We continued on our way to a neighborhood thrift store, a thrift store I had once entered and immediately exited due to their merchandising style which, sans piles of used adult diapers, was inspired by hoarders. But this time was different: spatially spread out, sectioned off, and not managed by someone with a severe mental illness. Tinker and I puttered through the vintage trinkets, verbally analyzing items based on era, colour, texture, purpose, possible refurbishment, how that item made us feel at that exact moment, all the while preceding the same script of adjectives with the word ‘so’.
We made our way to the back of the store, which at one time had been a storage room, or possibly the hoarder’s dungeon that housed the squished, mummified animal carcasses, when something in the shadows caught my eye.
AN ANTIQUE, RED VELVET HEADBOARD.
Elaborate replica formerly for sale via Etsy shop, Painted Cottages.
Suddenly shit got real.
I knew from the get-go that this headboard was not meant to be mine. I was infatuated with the colour scheme of my bedroom, and red was not welcome. When we saw the $40 price tag, and at closer inspection, confirmed the velvet was not saturated with fifty year old bodily fluids, it became apparent that Tinker needed to do what was right and buy the headboard. Tinker, however, has a husband.
I understood (and respected) Tinker’s hesitation. She was being conscientious of her husband’s boundaries, a courtesy that I was rarely given by my past man-wives who would stock pile dizzying numbers of man-dolls, sports paraphernalia, edged weapons; who would add their decorative touches by creating feng shui murder scenes with electrical chords webbing across the floor, or hanging a corner store calendar featuring Canadian landscapes in the middle of a massive, feature wall. I understood the sensitivity of bringing another ‘show’ item into the household, particularly since Tinker told me she has an affinity for spending evenings in her garage with a bottle of wine, spray painting the shit out of second-hand, home accessories. Tinker texted her husband her sales pitch, cell phone picture in tow. After a short period of text tennis, husband gave the thumbs up: “as long as it doesn’t collect dust in the garage.”
As we carried it outside and loaded it into the back of Tinker’s jeep, the sunshine hit the red velvet, proving that the brilliancy of the color had defied the test of time.Grandma had obviously kept that shit swaddled beneath plastic in her guest room for fifty years with a sign reading, “touch it n’ imma cut a bitch.” When we saw the red velvet illuminate, we screamed, we cheered, we hollered, and I may have thrusted my groin through the air repeatedly while grunting, “fuck yeah.”
I then realized I had been wrong. Drifting on that patch of ice would not be the climax to my excitement for the day. Tinker and I had found a pristine, antique, red velvet headboard for $40. In the world of vintage, that shit doesn’t happen every day. We didn’t just go thrifting, we had a thrift. WE HAD A DAMN GOOD THRIFT.
“I feel like I just snorted some PCP.”
“Followed by a rail of cocaine,” Tinker replied, and we knuckle-bumped our fists together like the O.G.’s of thrift.