Meghan and I rode to the Bitch-N-Swap together and after making about five wrong turns trying to get to Leslie’s house, we finally made it there. We told her that she should have had signs up with arrows that just said “Bitch.” (I’m sure her suburban neighbors would’ve loved that.)
I knew that Leslie and some friends had spent a good part of the previous day setting things up, but I was still amazed at how organized everything was. It looked like her living room had been completely emptied out to make room for swap stuff. Everything was nearly arranged in sections, with handy bright pink signs indicating what type of stuff could be found there, like “Frederick’s of Hello Kittie” for lingerie, “Home Despot” for household items, “Isle of Man” for all things testosterone-ish, and more. Neither of us had remembered to bring our camera, but thankfully Leslie’s friend Giselle agreed to be pressed into service documenting the swap for us; all of these photos were taken by her. (Thanks again, Giselle!)
I thought it was very appropriate to see “How to Conquer Clutter” among the tons of books.
In the center of the room was an enormous mound of clothes, which always had at least four people digging through it and which somehow didn’t seem to get any smaller as the swap went on.
I pulled out a couple of t-shirts for my husband, and a couple of dresses and skirts which I later rejected and threw back into the pile. After making a couple of passes around the room’s perimeter (and a couple more digs through the clothing heap) I headed to the kitchen, where I enjoyed a fresh-brewed cup of “Hong Kong Milk Tea” and some really good cookies. There was also a “chill-out room” where exhausted swappers were camped out watching cheesy movies.
As Meghan and I took a load of stuff to our car we saw someone carrying in a painting which truly horrified us. Even scarier, it was a swap veteran: it’d come to a previous swap and been taken home by someone who intended to give it as a gift. Not surprisingly, the gift was rejected, and so back it came. Here is Leslie posing with this masterpiece.
I don’t think anyone grabbed it and I’m really not sure what its fate will be now … nor do I really want to know!
Thanks in part to the Forbidden Items List, the general quality level was pretty decent. I was tempted by a lot of items that were kinda cool, but which I just didn’t really need, like cocktail shakers, funky ashtrays, and quirky zines. Due to my amazing restraint I only ended up bringing a few items home: the aforementioned t-shirts; a pair of shoes which I thought looked like bowling shoes, and only later realized were indeed actual bowling shoes; one interesting-looking book (the title of which I’ve already forgotten); one back issue of Bitch magazine; one Halloween pumpkin candle-holder; and a few stickers and other little trinkets for my daughter. Meghan ended up with a couple of bags full of books, clothes, and other items, including what I think was her score of the day, a beat-up but quite stylish black and leopard vintage handbag.
Even though a lot of stuff was taken away, there was a scary amount of stuff left over. Here is just some of the unclaimed stuff that was bagged up and taken to a thrift store afterwards.
It’s been almost two weeks since the swap. Tragically, Leslie is still dealing with the leftover items. I think she deserves a Craptastic Medal of Honor for putting this crazy event together! I hope her sanity is still intact by the time everything is out of her house.