[edit: pictures totally jacked up. trying to fix it.]
okay, so. a little more backstory and then it's on to the store. the first time mrs. dave and i came through town was may of last year. we were still living in galveston but getting ready to move, and on a weeklong trip up into and through the greater midwest and great plains to explore our options we impulsively decided to stop for a day or two in memphis, just out of curiosity, because really who wouldn't want to see what this town is about?
this was, unfortunately, the first week(end) of may. in memphis. you know what that means.
CHAOS! memphis in may was in full swing and we considered ourselves lucky to find a room for a couple days at the memphis plaza hotel on shelby oaks, WAAAAY the hell out there past the beltway. neither of us felt like hacking through the crowds of tourists on beale street so we just sort of drove around midtown, south main and the outskirts, trying in vain to take it all in and at least just make some mental notes on the whole thing. BUUUUT so we ended up driving past one particular thrift store again and again (since it was like basically down the street from our hotel) and it became our de facto introduction to memphis, so i guess it's fitting that it's the first place i tackle in this blog:
what a weird project. i still can't really wrap my head around how the whole thing is supposed to work. i guess they have some sort of distribution center or something set up over there to pass the bibles out? i just keep picturing like giant cardboard boxes just stamped "BIBLES - GENERAL DELIVERY, CHINA, PLANET EARTH" on the side in red ink or something being shipped out every day. i'm sure if i did even thirty seconds of research i could find out what the actual delivery mechanism is, but the image of the huge boxes just aimlessly shipping out to the most populous nation on the planet (also just a guess on my part) is so amusing that i can't bear to let it go. anyway onwards and upwards.
the inspiration for this whole project came from the fact that i happened to have my digital camera in my pocket while we were wandering around through the store, and while snapping this shot i realized that the Bibles for China store is the perfect example of a thrift store: cheap, eclectic, wonderfully chaotic, and not at all pretentious or contrived. totally comfortable, in that sense, anyway, screaming kids and annoying music notwithstanding.
just to get up on the soapbox for like a second - i feel like these stores are a part of a strange, vital, and ever changing subculture that has certainly been referenced and documented extensively in the past, but really isn't getting the attention it needs right here and now. i don't think so anyway. also it's sort of inspired by the fact that i just moved here and i see a really motivated and active blogging community and let's be honest, until i get the store up and running and meet some people and you know, get a life, i kind of need a project or an identity or whatever, and this seems to fit my interests. so anyway the lord being my shepherd and whatnot this turned out to be the perfect store to kick the whole thing off with:
wonderful mishmash of sh*t, from mattresses to individual golf clubs ($2 i think) and old wooden tennis rackets - god i love looking at those for some reason
usual housewares, plus this weird set of plastic pineapple cups (10 of them all told) with a pitcher for like three or four bucks i think - if i had the kind of apartment you could actually FIT ten people in i'd snatch that sh*t up in a heartbeat
kind of a sidenote but how often do you ever see these old school metal ice cube trays for sale, even at thrift stores? it's a really neat mechanism, it basically just pops the whole freaking tray out for you at once. i love stuff like this. anyway couldn't have been more than fifty cents. if there had been like one or two more they would have gone home with me, word is bond
this is the kind of thing that just makes you pause and shake your head for a second. i mean i grew up in the eighties, i understand melanie griffith movies have their place and whatall, it just...i don't know, in the great hierarchy of "things that deserve coffee mugs" in my mind (don't doubt me, there is one, i promise) the movie working girl is probably somewhere down there between "that guy at the citgo who gave me directions that one time" and "paulina porizkova" in terms of importance
the HUGEST god damned suitcases i have EVER seen - i only intruded on this picture to give the thing a sense of scale (AND it wasn't even the biggest one there), it is easily bigger than my legs and torso put together, in fact if you chopped my head and limbs off you could stuff me in there whole hog no problem - wow what a horrible thought
there were, no shit, NINE of these boxes, all full of slide carousels apparently depicting this person or group or whatever's world travels which apparently included outer mongolia (as opposed to inner mongolia, that's where all the tourists and dilettantes go) and this is DEFINITELY not the first collection of slide carousels i have seen in my days in the secondhand market - it REALLY makes me want to pick up a cheap slide projector (also widely available thrifting) just so i can bring these things home, crack a bottle or two of wine and take a trip through someone else's memories - GOD IT'S LIKE BLADE RUNNER my only question is - these things are basically standardized sizes right? like i wouldn't be screwing myself if i bought like a kodak projector and just expected any old slide carousel to fit into it right? i mean slide technology was juuuust a little before my time, but i've always understood them to be pretty standardized in terms of size - someone help me out here please before i waste my money
okay detour into the realms of the disgusting: one pair, OBSCENELY short velour terrycloth undie shorts, in the men's section no less, just sort of sitting out on the end of the rack like someone had grabbed them and carried them around for a while (MAYBE EVEN TRIED THEM ON OH GOD) and then just "oh you know what nevermind" and just tossed them on the end of the nearest rack. gag me with a spoon, as they say. reminds me of this guy who lived down the street from me in syracuse who was, or had to be anyway, borderline mentally handicapped, and was certainly a potential if not already convicted sex offender, who hand to god made his living mowing lawns in the most obscenely short tight skimpy bike shorts i've ever seen - 6 foot 4 220+, mind you. anyway that's what i thought of here - is that weird?
speaking of gross and weird, but also kind of brilliant and inspiring, here's some outsider art (one of my FAVORITE things about thrifting, always has been), both laid out kind of casually on the floor, but clearly they must be from the same source, and i THINK of the same person, or at least there's a mother/daughter/sister/etc relationship there, because there's a striking resemblance, among all the other things about these "pieces" that are truly, truly striking (teeth)
i should mention the books here, since that's ostensibly the point of this whole thing, in part anyway. the books suck here. that's the great failing of this store, which in all other regards gets a huge thumbs up from me...their book selection has sucked every time i've gone in, not to mention being $2 and up for hardbacks, which, i'm sorry, color me spoiled, but that's just too much for a chewed up copy of "something up a sleeve" by richard lockridge, no matter how cool the cover looks. not to mention most of their selection is, how can i say this kindly, very jesus-oriented in nature, which i have no problem with in theory, it just doesn't make for the most exciting book-browsing you can imagine.
the records (also an area of interest for yours truly) were totally shot to hell. completely disorganized (the books at least were in semi-coherent alphabetical order, which is a minor miracle for a thrift store), totally beat up, also a little on the expensive side i remember, so i didn't even bother looking through them, as there's nothing more heartbreaking than finding a record you love and desperately want in a thrift store only to find that although the jacket's in great shape the actual record seems to have been used to chop walnuts for the better part of a decade.
books and records a bust, no purchases made - that would have to wait for the DAV
the wifey, however, snagged two SICK pairs of shoes and some jogging pants, which was very exciting, and i got two pairs of black dress pants 34 x 30 and two white dress shirts roughly my size (i'm too lazy to try anything on any more) BECAUUUUSE there's a dollar sale on most men's and women's clothing until the 22nd of this month - i would highly advise anyone and everyone to get out to macon road and take advantage of it. the only things i saw that weren't on sale were the jeans (still only $4 a pair) and ladies' evening gowns and such. everything else = buck a bang. CANNOT beat it
a quick glance at the frighteningly androgynous she-cowboy and we were on our way. godspeed you chinese bible store!
men's clothes $4
women's clothes $6
total w/tax: $12.02
Bibles for China Thrift Store
6184 Macon Rd Memphis TN
DOLLAR SALE through the 22nd almost all men and women's clothes
louis prima "pennies from heaven"
elvis "it's now or never"
that "have you never been mellow" song - could easily be my theme song i suppose
vaya con dios - catch you at the next stop