Greed? Enthusiasm? A youthful sense of fun? Or my American duty to stimulate the economy on Cyber Monday? Ah, yes, that’s it: patriotism compels me to buy more track.
Thomas madness has swept through our small house like one of those strangely frequent storms on Sodor. It is not, however, contagious. I am alone in my affliction. Even the kid, whose toys these ostensibly are, is immune. I am bidding on train track. As I write this, I toggle windows with my eBay screens. . . I still see the words “It is almost over and you are currently the highest bidder,” but at any moment some savvy, practiced, heartless eBay veteran will outbid me by a cent. This is precisely what happened late last night, when I bid on not one, but three different lots of used Thomas track. Reasoned thinking becomes more and more difficult as the almost audible buzz of auction anxiety derails all common sense.
Three minutes to go, now. If I don’t win this pathetic lot, I shall try in 4 more minutes for a larger pathetic lot. And if I don’t win that, I shall keep looking. The economy may be down, down, down, but Thomas stock keeps going up, up, up, at least with those of us who imagine that all future toy happiness depends on 34 pieces of Maple wood track (with road markings on the reverse–so versatile).
One minute, 10 seconds. I can’t pay retail, because retail entails outlay of cash or credit, and my sources of each are, well, frozen. Solid. Instead, I must pay with the play PayPal money: imaginary funds begotten through those marginally profitable eBay sales I mentioned a few days ago. Each sale costs me far more in premature aging than in listing fees and Final Value Fees and PayPal fees and postage fees and all other fees known and unknown. But I persist because of the possibility of more track. Layouts more elaborate than a figure eight require track. Layouts that take Thomas all the way from the living room through the kitchen and dining room and back again require much more track. And who wants this track? The kid? No, the kid doesn’t even know more track is a possibility. It never crosses his tiny mind. It is me. I like trains. I have recently discovered this. I am a late bloomer to trains.
a moment later….
Okay, not only did I win the lot of 34, but I immediately toggled over to the other open eBay tab and started bidding on a lot of 55. That almost audible hum became a deafening roar: “I MUST HAVE THAT TRACK. I am not complete without that track. I will keeping hunting for track at every yard sale, church sale, Craigslist ad, and eBay auction until I get that track.”
So, I got the track. I now have a lot of track. Actually, I have two lots of track. I can begin breathing normally again. I can hear properly. I can also hear myself wondering if I just did the right thing. Oh well, if I change my mind, at least I know where I can sell it off later….