Tacky even in Paris

a real flea market findI had a good day today, I went shopping. Not for normal stuff, mind you. I went shopping for those special things that make a home a home. For instance, for about $7.50 I bought an enormously tacky water pitcher from Morocco that features a naked woman as the handle. To make it even finer, there is a big ass hole on her ass, as if she is going to shit water when you tip the fucker!

I also bought a simple painting of a hard boiled egg for about $4 and paid too much for a little desk calendar, about $30. But I liked the calendar and it was the first thing I saw that I liked.

I went to the flea market in the south edge of Paris (Porte de Vanves). It’s where you walk down the streets and the merchandise gets worse and worse as you go along. By the end of the street, you have people cleaning out their closets and selling broken shoes, spare handbags, underwear, and asstd. detritus. Then, it’s not over, you cross the street and voila, an assortment of bad art, cheaper treasures, and kitchen stuff. I bought the pitcher and painting in the last area.

flea market treasuresI then took a bus to another bus and walked about 2 miles to the apartment. What do you think was on the way home? Another flea market! can you believe the luck? I found this old photo of a really, really ugly guy wearing his skivvies in the park. I was going to buy it, but didn’t feel like haggling over it with the junkie selilng the goods. Numbers are difficult to get your head around in French. Ten, twenty, thirty, fourty, fifty, sixty, sixty plus ten, four times twenty, four times twenty plus ten, one hundred… So, here’s the gist of my bargaining.

  • Me: “Yo, crack head. how much for this ugly photo”
  • Crackhead: “40 cents”
  • Me: (thinking he said 4 euros “Uggh, too much. How about 1 euro?”
  • Crackhead: “WTF?”

Ted on the bridge after a long day of flea market shopping
I went to a cafe after the first flea market and had a cafe au lait and croissant for breakfast. the waiter was from Algiers and wanted to see the beautiful water pitcher. I thought he was saying I had mud on my face under my eye. Finally I figured out what he was saying and motioning and he admired it’s beauty and told me of its origin. Frankly, I just assumed it was from Tijuana.

Achile in America!

Hello, my name is ted and I’m a sockaholic.

“…Hi Ted!” The crowd returns.
Yes, it’s true. I have a fetish for socks. It began just around high school years when my friend Peter and I decided we would no longer wear white socks. Nope, those were for normal people. Bring on the challenge of the ugly, the striped, the gender-confused, and the flat-out ridiculous. For years we rummaged through thrift-stores for the rare set of interesting socks.

ted and an ugly pair or red/black socks

Peter specialized in ugly colors and I specialized in ugly patterns. I’ve got sparkly argyle, rainbow striped, socks with toes, socks with santa, mermaids, ghosts, dogs, cats, ostriches, flags, metro maps, the list goes on far too long. My lucky softball socks stretch beyond my knees and have baby blue stripes. I call them my Mia Hamm Lucky Softball Socks and you should see the other team quiver as I pull them up to their full extension. They know a world of hurt is coming their way.

Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of ugly socks for men. Your lucky to find an ugly pair of argyle or maybe something with a slight striped edge to them. I have huge feet, so I’ve learned through trial and error that I can’t wear too many womens socks. Although I do have a pair of girl scout socks that barely go past my ankles.

Fortunately, my friend Jean-Pierre introduced me to the world of Achile about 7 years ago. This french company creates socks in the same mode as beanie babies. Every three months or so, they release a new gamut of designs. Not only do they satisfy my craving for quirky, they’re downright comfy to boot. Every time I go to Paris, I start with a trip to the Samaritaine or BHV to grab a few pairs. Some people return with wine and cheese. I return with socks and socks.

ted's latest achile sock purchases

Achile in America

Imagine my surprise yesterday when I found a store, Citizen Clothing, in the Castro selling Achile. They had a nice selection and the prices were reasonable, $20. If I hadn’t just returned with new stock I would have gotten a cool pair of puppy socks.

Now, if you can’t get to Paris for your socks, fly on over to San Francisco and check out Citizen Clothing. If that is a bit much, try the new Achile online store. They actually have great prices online and a super selection.