Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Things That Are Awesome: Flea markets

I am a simple woman. A shot of whiskey is my perfect drink. Take me to a used bookstore and I will be your best friend for life. I am perfectly content spending an afternoon on coffee shop patio reading my Kindle. And flea markets make me exorbitantly, unreasonably happy. As far as I'm concerned, there is nothing better than a day spent outdoors, wandering from booth to booth, never quite knowing what to expect.

My parents didn't have much money when I was growing up. Fortunately, my mother was a champion bargain shopper and a frequent visitor of flea markets near our home in Queens. On our trips together I'd closely study proper market behavior -  the art of haggling with vendors and hunting down bargains, and which stand sold the best frozen lemonade. At the flea we'd pick up things like handmade tie-dyed socks and scented candles bottled by bored housewives in their basements and knock-off purses and hippie jewelry woven out of hemp. I grew to love the uncertainty of it, the unpredictability of vendors and the ever-changing merchandise. Perhaps I would dig up a bargain on tights. Maybe I'd go home with a parakeet. If I was lucky, I might actually end up with something I needed, like tube socks and personalized pencils for math class. You just never knew.

However, Texas flea markets beat the New York markets of my youth to a bloody pulp. In addition to better food (Frito chili pie and hot boiled peanuts? Yes please) there's completely epic people-watching. There are grizzled old men in overalls selling firearms and "art" constructed from antlers and and whatever crap scrounged from their front yards. Women in housedresses push rolling carts past you, cigarettes hanging limply from their lips. It seems that everyone either sports a mullet, Civil War-era facial hair, or Nascar apparel. Or a combination of all three. The truly stylish wear Carhart jackets and camo pants. The supremely stylish are outfitted in Carhart camo and a Nascar tee. And don't even get me started on the accents flying through the air. I couldn't understand a damm thing anyone was saying.

Several booths do a brisk business selling fried apple pies, dusty Depression-era glasswear, studded tee shirts and bags emblazoned with crosses and zebra prints, and household items constructed from scrap metal. Here's a sample:

If you're ever in the Dallas area, definitely take the time to check out McKinney Third Monday Trade Days, Canton Third Monday Trade Days, or for the truly adventurous, Bonham First Monday Trade Days. Bonham's market offers things like chickens and goats and truck engine parts and grandma's musty afghans. It's really something to see.

For my flea market adventure, I went with a favorite pair of boyfriend jeans and a lightweight sweater. Compared to my comrades in camo and overalls, I was most definitely overdressed.

Are you a fan of flea markets? Any interesting ones in your area?

Gap stripped cotton sweater; Gap tee (under sweater), AG Adriano Goldschmied boyfriend jeans; Forever 21 shoes; thrifted Coach belt; Urban Outfitters flower studs

No comments:

Post a Comment