Confessions of a junkie

Surrealism at the fleamarket.
Matthew Soltesz - Surrealism at the fleamarket.

Hello everyone, my name is Matthew. I have a problem.

Every Wednesday, I drag myself out of bed extremely early in the morning, bleary eyed and in need of coffee, and go on a mission to find metal objects. Usually steel, preferably sharp, and always very old.

I am an antiques junkie, one of that special breed of human that is obsessed with anything that has withstood the test of time, appreciates the aesthetic of years of wear and tear, and will go to great lengths to surround themselves with objects like these. Cash only, of course. 

Our meetings are usually held in the early morning, when the truly devoted haggle in the dark by flashlight over two ounces of silver from, say, Bolivia, and the milk crates and event tables are covered in dew.

There are jewelry people, doll people, tool people, box people, doily people, duck decoy people, 19th century ivory letter-opener people, and people that know an unnecessarily large amount of just about any other random classification of objects you can think of. 

Call it the recession, call it the by-product of a surplus society, but I won’t tell you what motivates our obsession. You will just have to wake up with cockcrow and see for yourself.

Eclectic objects and a side of greens

One of the best markets on the cape is the Sandwich Bazaar, held every Wednesday and Saturday morning until October 8th (the Wednesday market will continue through October 26th).

Vendors come from all over the area and often from out of state come to Oakcrest Cove to sell their eclectic collections, as well as farm-fresh produce and artisan food products. 

Walking around this field-cum-market, I often ask the vendors where and how they came to sell what they bring. The answer I get is invariably some version of this: “I just started collecting things, and eventually I realized that I don’t need 12 of (object A), so I figured I should try to sell at least three of them.” 

But behind this off the cuff justification, many people devote their lives and make their livelihoods out of the flea-trade. It’s a lifestyle choice.

Beyond business, markets are about community. They are places where people from polar-opposite backgrounds can come and chat for hours about their interest in, well, just about anything that turns up. It is beautiful to see these impromptu communities flourish, where the only membership requirement is an obsessive urge to find silver thimbles made in France between 1880 and 1939. Or something just as obscure.

Check out the Sandwich Bazaar. You never know what you might acquire a habit for.


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