I’ve been trying to gather up old sewing machines at good prices so that I can keep them at the school for our 4-H meetings, rather than having the kids (and me) schlepp their machines in every time. Creating sort of a home ec room that I can store in a closet. I’ve avoided the ones in cabinets, even though they come out, b/c I dont want to deal with the furniture, but on Craigslist, I came across one with a really CUTE desk and the machine looked like my old school machines from the late 60s (I did NOT go to school in the late 60s, thank you very much, but I’m pretty sure that’s when the machines showed up) and I recall them as good and solid. So, I made the contact, made arrangements to pick it up (which the weather stymied twice), and got Mapquest directions.

I’m happily listening to Ricky Gervais podcasts , laughing my head off, and tooling out into the wilds of West Virginia. I start making lots of little turns, it gets very dark as I leave the land of buisnesses and highway lights. The road becomes much less paved. The homes become much more mobile. I arrive at my destination (after passing roads named “Riproarin ave” and “Slanty Ln”) and park. The trailer has a little enclosed porch thing that I knock at. The seller comes to the door, wearing bright printed scrubs and looking pretty normal and in her 30s. Not at all the 300 lb shambling mess I was beginning to expect. In an email, she’d asked if I was “handy with carpentry” b/c the sewing machine was hiding a hole in the wall she was going to have to fix before moving. I’d gotten kind of a needy vibe and pretended I didn’t know a Dewalt from a Dewers.

She lets me in and leads me into the kitchen where I am faced with about 20 snakes, stacked in plastic storage bins. Like pasta, or out of season clothing. I make nice with the snakes, chit chat about a reptile show I’d gone to and marvel at the colors boas come in. And think, “So, this is where it ends. In a smelly trailer full of snakes in West Virginia.” She shows me the machine, cute as pictured, and the hole in the drywall, about which I can do nothing. “I can’t help you much,” she tells me, “because I have a heart condition and bad knees.” I joke that I guess I can’t plead “arthritic hip” and ask her to do the hauling. The blasted thing is heavy, but even worse, has no easy way to carry it. The back is perfectly flat, so I kind of “walk” it out, wiggling it side to side. When it comes time to wrestle it out to the van, though, she picks up the end and helps me get it in. We go back in to get the bench. She’s been chattering the whole time, and has kind of a reedy voice. But now it is flat-out wheezy. And her lips are BLUE. Dude, you have congestive heart failure! What in the HELL are you doing?!? Oy. I start chattering so she’ll shut the hell up long enough to breathe. The color returns to her lips. phew. So. out.of.there. I get out, while everyone is still alive. And you know what? I think I have enough machines now. Thanks.