The other day I saw this sign:
Most people would be hesitant to enter the home of someone they don’t know, who lacked tact enough in a way to post a sign on a telephone pole advertising “beautiful staff” for sale. After I texted this picture to my husband and told him I was going here, in case I suddenly disappeared, he merely asked me to send him a picture of the “beautiful staff.”
And So I Entered…
The World of a Stranger
The first thing I encountered as I entered Jorge’s 3rd floor walkup 1 bedroom, railroad apartment was this. Old, heavy golden frames, heirloom type pieces, and little tea kits. Having been greeted by a sweet, chirpy, thinly built man who was leaning over a cabinet sorting through knotted gold chains and large jade bangle bracelets, I was confused as to whether this was his place or someone else’s place of whom he was selling for.
Why did he own all of this stuff?
It had dawned on me, the more he spoke, which he did at a rapid-fire pace, that he was quite possibly a drag queen, who seemed only to own feminine clothing and jewelry, but why did he own all this golden pieces that looked as though they belonged to the many senior women whose estate sales I had frequented when I first came to NYC? I had entered the world of Jorge, decade-long Chelsea resident, designer, and obviously, drag queen – an all around nice person I would learn who was striving after minimalist living.
“Everything you see is for sale!” he had greeted me.
I blinked back at him, curtly thanking him and engaging him in conversation. I barely had time to look at what was around me. I wanted to pay proper due attention to him, rather than let him see me spinning around trying to take in this scene that I had not anticipated in entering through his apartment door.There was stuff everywhere. Clothing was piled on top of clothing piled on tops of suitcase and Container Store plastic storage containers, but an impressively distinct path ran down the room between either side littered with stuff. “So much fashion here..” I stumbled, as I let my current situation wash over me.Fortunately, Jorge seemed kind and un self-conscious, so I quickly felt quite comfortable speaking with him.
Drag Queen Wonders
Recently, after listening to a NPR Pop Culture Happy Hour episode that had espoused the wonders of Rupaul’s Drag Race, I had mentioned to my husband my desire to watch this season. The last month, my husband had been texting me Gifs from the show, despite us never getting around to watch it, and they were so funny they only further instituted the concept of drag queens on my radar. To actually meet one – I never had before – was such a delightful surprise, that I had not anticipated what it would be like to enter the sanctuary of one. Interested in a drag queen show? – here’s Time Out’s list.
Why was he moving?
Priced out of Chelsea. He did not tell me his rent, but noted that it was a very good deal when he first moved in 10 years ago. Now it was no longer so. Considering how pricey other 1 bedroom apartments are around this area, I was not surprised his rent had been rising. Another 1 bedroom apartment in the building, with the same layout, is listed for $2595.
Minimalist Drag Queen
Jorge is using this opportunity to cut back and moving to his next place with just a suitcase and storing a few bins of his favorite items. He wants to cleanse his life and achieve minimalism, so he is saying goodbye to many things he has loved, and feeling very good about it.
Wannabe Vegan Drag Queen
When offering that I consider a beautiful fur coat, I demurred, letting him know that I am a vegan and don’t wear fur. He brightened up and led me to his bathroom where he was trying one of the few items he will keep – a fun, black, faux fur coat. “I don’t wear fur anymore either, and I hardly eat meat. I feel so much better now. Did you know it takes 8 days for meat to fully digest?” Is this true?Tomorrow I return to purchase his fluffy white bedding and pillows for our Bnb. This sign is legit, and you’ll meet and help a very lovely person out by giving his items a new home. –
I ended up purchasing his Porky Pig 1973 collector’s edition glass, partially because I wanted to help him out, partially because I wanted a relic from this time, and least of all because I needed or really wanted it. However, it will now, like the many things that we own, enter the shared community of our life and find a second home in delighting the staff and many visitors to my husband’s office that happen upon it when they reach for a glass to fill with water. Never will they know that this came from Jorge, a 10 year former Chelsea resident, aspiring minimalist, design, drag queen.