Beautiful Things

I was browsing a little shop today with some friends of mine when I saw an absolutely gorgeous tray.  It was a heavy rectangular slab of warm wood, with handles made of pewter in the shape of flowering branches adorned with birds.  It made my heart sing just to look at it, and I thought to myself, Well, just the other day Nathan and I were saying that we need breakfast-in-bed trays; why shouldn't they be lovely?  After all, I'm an adult now, and I can spend a little more money on something that is both functional and beautiful.  No need to limit myself to the utilitarian when I'm putting together a household that will last me for decades.

With this cheerful thought in mind I began dismantling the display, so that I could turn the tray over and see the price.  This took me a while, as there were an indecent amount of candles stacked upon it, but at last it was unencumbered, and I turned it over...


Four.  Hundred.  Dollars.

I felt a sick lurch in my heart and began to re-assemble the candle-pyramid.  My friends and I joked that I'd probably have to pay the shop $20 just for touching it, but inside I was feeling very small, and very sad.  I felt as though I was being told that because we aren't wealthy, we don't deserve beautiful things.  I know that's not true, of course- the only person making me feel that way was me and my rare-but-tenacious insecurities- but the little kernel of sadness remained.  I tend towards the miserly, pragmatic side of things in general, so the decision to spend extra on something for the sake of beauty was sort of a big deal.  To be unable to afford the beauty was just sort of... well, sad.

It was with that experience fresh in my mind that I decided to visit Pier One on our way home.  Surely, I thought, surely they have pretty trays that I can actually afford.

And they did... but none that made my heart happy.  And what's the point of spending extra if it's not going to make your heart happy?  So I browsed around the store, with the vague notion that I'd look at dishes, since Nathan's been saying for about three years now that he really, really wants better dishes than my old Ikea ware.

Nothing was appealing to me, until I happened to glance at a clearance rack.  And there it was- a beautiful little plate, just calling my name!  White with a spray of yellow branches, and dinner plates to match!  So pretty!  And so affordable!

Nathan was equally charmed, and so we brought a set of sixteen white-and-yellow plates home to our little yellow house, and paid less than 1/7 of what I'd have paid for just one tray (and I wanted two).  Now that's beautiful.

...with a side of yellow sunshine...

(As for the still-needed breakfast trays, we decided that we will buy a pair of plain trays and them stencil on our own design.  Now if only I knew a pewter-worker...)


  1. Think of it this way - it's a rather expensive little shop. By virtue of this, it tends to attract an older, wealthier clientele, people who appreciate (and can afford) the finer things - but where was the tray when you found it? Under a shelf in the far corner, piles of merch stacked on top of it. This tells you that, realistically, they don't actually expect anyone to buy it at that price, regardless of the fact that some of the people who shop there have quite a bit of money. And why? Not because they can't afford to spend $400, but because it's just an asinine amount - which is, really, the same reason you didn't buy it. If it had been a bike, or a special type of harness, or if you needed a new surfboard, you would eventually spend that much and feel justified. You have the money. You simply appreciate the value of it. Which is good.

    1. Ooo, see, now I look smart instead of just whiney... ;)

      (Also fair point re: sporting equipment. Let's not examine too closely how much I've spent on those pursuits over the years...)

  2. Yay hoppergrass! Nailed it.

  3. I will steal it for you, Khaleesi!!! Oh, by the way, never ever let a merch see an emotional attachment ... things are amusing but whatever coins you toss a merch are more valuable to the merch.

    1. But how else shall I emotionally manipulate them if not with my emotions? ;)