05 April 2008

Vile Mood

I'm in a particularly vile mood today. I should be feeling better, but I'm not. For three days we've had an internet outage, and yesterday the man from Comcast came out to repair it. Of course the internet returned before he got here, so he tightened up some connections and left, assuring us that the problem was solved, but I'm not convinced. At least I'm connected again, which is some relief, but for how long?

Feeling connected again is good, but I'm still upset over an incident that happened on Thursday. We're perpetually remodeling here, and as a result some stuff is sitting out on the front porch waiting to find places to stay. Sometime on Wednesday night or Thursday morning some jerk stole a handful of items from the porch--a piece of Samsonite luggage, an old 3x5 set of files, and so on. The thing that upset me, however, was that for some reason he carried off a box filled with antique sheet music I had been planning to sell. I've had it for years--one of several boxes I bought back in 1973 or so--mainly from the early 1920s. The pictures were wonderful period pieces, even if the music was for the most part obscure stuff--most of it quite popular in its time, but without staying power. Still, I'd been enjoying myself looking up songs and composers on the web, researching the selling-options, and all that--and now it's gone.

I can't even begin to imagine why somebody took it.

It was still sitting there Wednesday afternoon when I walked up the street to visit my brother. There was a block of wood on top of the box to keep the sheet music from blowing away in the wind, and the mirror I'd been using as a sort of impromptu top was lying beside it. It was dark when I got back, and I don't remember for certain seeing it there at that point, but I'm sure I would have noticed if it had been moved. The next morning when I went out to move the dumpster back off the street it was gone. The block of wood was lying on the porch, and the mirror was leaning, cracked, up against the fence, but the goddamn box of music was gone.

I really never thought somebody would steal something like that.

I don't know why, really; in the years that the family has lived here we've lost a bust of Kennedy, a three-foot-tall airplane trophy, and various porch ornaments. Why not a box of antique sheet music?

I don't know why this has upset me as much as it has. Nobody got hurt; the thief didn't even break into the house; I suppose I shouldn't feel violated, but I do. As my niece Rachel pointed out, it's not even something I cared that deeply about--I enjoyed going through the stuff, but it wasn't personal, or research notes I'd worked on for years, or anything like that. It wasn't something I needed, or even had that strong an emotional connection with.

It's not the money, either--having researched the possibilities online, I figured that unloading it was going to be a pain in the ass. In theory, I suppose, if I could have found a buyer for each and every piece in the box who was willing to pay what appears to be full market value, it might have been worth maybe four or five hundred dollars. But my research shows that this stuff moves very slowly, and sometimes not at all, so that forty or fifty dollars might be more realistic. Maybe even nothing at all. Collectibles are like that at the best of times, and the nineties are over. Still, there were some promising items in the box, and I was actually looking forward to seeing how they were going to go. Maybe it's the loss of the possibility or something.

And I do have more of this stuff. Not just the half-dozen or so pieces that fell out when whoever it was took the box, but another half-box or so in the attic, and I should have another box somewhere, though it hasn't turned up yet. But at the moment I've somehow lost my enthusiasm for the project.

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