The day started with breakfast at Andrea’s beloved Eat n Park, where Henry went on some weird breakfast buffet hate spree and some other man there had the SAME LAUGH AS HIS. I could not wrap my head around this, which is weird considering how pliable it is.
Andrea was feeling a little run down* but was all, “Bitch, don’t think I’m missing out on a trip to the motherfucking flea market.” I mean, all flea markets are basically the same, with their dirty ass rag dolls and rusted hacksaws, but at least you get different clientele based on the region. And nowhere but a Pittsburgh flea market are you going to see some asshole wearing head-to-toe Steelers logos. Jesus, go fuck yourself with your football.
(*I even brought her a Jonagold and she was like, “Holy shit, I can’t believe you’re giving me an entire one of your apples.” I know, I could hardly believe it either.)
The very first thing Andrea and I saw was this resplendent shadow box shrine to Saint Rita of Cascia. She had a fucking bullet hole in her forehead, you guys. A BULLET HOLE.
“That’s $75,” said an old man with a hugely distracting mole under his right eye. “Sixty-five years of selling at flea markets and I ain’t never seen nothing like it. One of a kind.”
I did my Phoebe-run all the way down to Henry, who tends to make himself scarce in these situations and it’s only a matter of time before he just leaves me there altogether.
“Do you have $75?” I panted. I tried to pull taut my best “YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW DIRE THIS IS” pained visage.
“What? No!” Henry spat, after doing that thing where he briefly stares at me in disgust to alert all the decayed-teeth, teased-haired Yinzer women in the vicinity that he’s free for the takin’. And then, curiosity getting the best of him (maybe it was a pony play starter kit I had spied, he might have thought), he finally asked me why.
“There’s some saint bullshit—-” I started but then he turned around and continued to browse bins of medicated hemorrhoid wipes.
Some guy there was totally eating an apple and I almost died.
Meanwhile, these assholes were strutting around like they owned the goddamn place. I kept trying to take their picture, but they weren’t actually stopping anywhere to peruse other people’s roughly-used merchandise, so I would have to literally run ahead of them, stop a few tables down, spin around and blatantly point my phone at them.
“Do you think people ever notice me acting weird at the flea market?” I asked Henry later.
He mulled this over for a bit before saying that everyone else there is just as weird as me, so probably not. I was momentarily relieved, but only until I became offended.
Almost every vendor has Steelers shit for sale. And even if they had no Steelers merchandise, they were all yukking it up with customers about today’s game.
I could scrawl the word “Steelers” on a Post-It note, have Ben Rapelisberger wipe his ass with it, and some jackass Yinzer would buy it.
Autographed picture of the Jersey Shore cast, anyone? Someone else was selling this for $400. That’s fucking criminal.
One of the sellers inside was blaring some super sad Jesus music, which totally engaged my stigmata. It almost inspired Andrea to buy a rosary from the Flava Flav collection. (I think that’s the second time I referenced him this week, for no good reason. I guess Snooki’s out, irreverent VH1 reality stars are back in.)
Inside the flea market, Andrea bought something off this lady who I am utterly obsessed with. She has permanent residence there, tables and tables that are absolutely dumped upon with chintzy pearls and ancient Happy Meal toys. If someone picks something up, she rushes over as soon as they walk away to make sure it was put back in the right spot. I want to go there someday and fuck with her so bad, just start pulling shit out from the bottom and watching with glee as she’s buried under an avalanche of 40 years of hoarding.
But, she’s nice to me sometimes so then I feel guilty for having such thoughts. I will say it’s a blessed miracle that Chooch hasn’t given her a stroke yet.
Andrea has decided that Marc-Andre Fleury is her favorite Penguins (and of course our back-up goalie was the one playing in last night’s game; she was so disappointed), so she was rifling through boxes of trading cards in hopes of finding one of his to keep in her wallet, finally replacing that one of Scott Baio that’s currently in there. When she wasn’t looking, I bought a set of the commemorative holographic tumblers that Pizza Hut was selling two years ago and gave her the Fleury one.
“Holy shit, you’re breaking up the set for me?!” she said in awe.
I know, it’s out of character. But I wanted her to have a goddamn Fleury something-or-other.
Right as we were leaving, the man with the saint Rita thing was packing all his shit up.
“Ask him if he’ll take $25,” Andrea suggested. I tried to make Henry do it, did a whole bunch of whining and even tried dragging him over there, but he was like “Fuck you, no.”
“Will you do it?” I asked Andrea, and she locked eyes with my super-sad, pitiful puppy-eyes and she said, “Goddammit, fine.”
But as expected, he wouldn’t budge. We had to stand there and listen to his sob story (he’s going in for a heart catherization you guys!!) which basically climaxed with him saying that this was probably his last weekend there.
“Do you even know the story about Saint Rita?” he asked us, his mole bobbing buoyantly as he squinted at us skeptically.
We tried to say we did, and he goes, “About how she had twins and lost them?” He gave us this tired “You girls don’t know shit” sigh and filled us in on her story, which I completely forget but I can tell you this: it was DEEP.
I am so fucking pissed that Henry didn’t buy it for me. Even more pissed that I literally only have $23 in my account right now or I’d have bought it for myself as a pity present.
“You bought Chooch a puzzle!” I whined all accusatively, like how dare he buy our child something and not me.
“It was TWO DOLLARS! Besides, he knocked all that shit over so I felt obligated to buy something after that. I guarantee that guy will be back,” Henry said in his dad tone, but I was too busy serving up red velvet cake on Bakery Story to give a shit about anything he said at that point.
Anyway, if anyone has one of those Saint Rita things, I will buy it off you. Or trade you Chooch for it.
We dropped Andrea off at her hotel so she could “rest” (code for: have a little peace and quiet; I’m the type you want to have in small doses) and then Henry took me to Soergel’s so I could PICK MY OWN APPLES THIS TIME, OMG HELLO APPLELAND!
I was absolutely giddy, touching all of them and asking, “Will I like these kinds?” but then moving on to the next one before Henry had a chance to answer.
They even had little things telling me what each apple tasted like! (I am new to shopping for things like this.)
But within a minute, I had come full circle around the apple display. “Is this all they have?” I shouted in disappointment. “I’ve already tried half of these!”
“It’s not apple season!” Henry yelled in extreme annoyance. This picture was taken at the pinnacle of the aforementioned extreme annoyance. Bitch, I’m learning. Try having some patience.
But then beets caught my attention, at which point Chooch and I simultaneously mock-vomited, causing Henry to say “I hate you” and shoulder his way past us.
“Ew, this meat comes from the WEENER?” Chooch exclaimed in front of a yuppie mom and her son, who were trying to enjoy their scoops of yuppie ice cream.
“Buying two of each apple, huh?” the young cashier said amicably as he rang us up.
I was just about to give him my “I’M NEW TO APPLES” story, but I figured I’d spare Henry this one time. But someday I’m going to go back and ask to touch their apple trees. And I do mean hump their apple trees.