My six-month eBay chip

October 17, 2007, 2:54 PM UTC


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This may not look like a special day to you, but for me it has resonance, and a certain aura of hope. It was six months ago that I made my last impulsive and successful bid on eBay (EBAY).  I know six months is not a long time. I know I’ll be in jeopardy for the rest of my life, that I’m an addict and always will be, always will have to look over my shoulder for temptations and the possibility of backsliding. But six months is something. I think I can allow myself a little rustle of pride in my bosom.

My story is like so many others. As Dylan said, “I started out on Burgundy but soon hit the harder stuff.” For me, it was Pez dispensers.  Not too many. Just a few. After that, I kind of messed around with a number of other stimulants, experimenting to see what kind of collecting might give me the best buzz.

Watches… a few years ago my house was robbed. Among the things that the thief made away with was a pre-WWII era Titus Geneve chronograph made of pink gold, with a dark brown face and a lovely alligator Spidel twisty wristband. I put that into my favorites, so a permanent search was established. By the end of that year, I had sprung for six or seven really nice watches, none of them the exact same as the one I had lost, though. They say you can’t go home again. Maybe they’re right. But I was trying.

Then, perhaps a year ago, I saw it. It didn’t have the right band, but I figured that could be dealt with. I bid on it. I bought it. It now sits in a drawer of my desk at home. Every now and then I take it out and look at it. It needs repair. I do like it. But something is different. Perhaps the remembrance of lost time was better than the possession of it.

While I was looking for that watch, I found myself developing an interest in guitars again. This was about the same time I ceased collecting comic books. There was a gap in my life. I put the word “Supertone” into the search engine and woke up about eighteen months later with drool all over my chin and about fifty guitars made for Sears before 1940.

That’s when I shut things down. For a time, I had a couple of relapses. A guitar I couldn’t do without. A watch from Weimar Germany.  A camera, circa 1970, that reminded me of my first Pentax.

Today, when I find myself cruising the site, I step away from the screen, grab my coat, and head out into the fresh air. Walking helps. I’m doing okay. The weekends can be hard, though. There’s less to occupy my mind, and I find myself gravitating to that new mall that just opened up downtown.

Sometimes it’s hard to tear myself away from the place, once I’m there. Thanks to the strength of my friends — I never go there alone — and my new habit of buying with a debit instead of a credit card, I’m handling that problem too. So far.

One day at a time, you know.