Saralee Perel

Award-winning columnist, Saralee Perel, can be reached at sperel@saraleeperel.com 


Her novel, Raw Nerves, is now available as a paperback and an e-book on Amazon.com.



One Day At A Time


It started with one glass.

Bob warned, "You can't stop at just one."

So I left the glass there — for later.

Yes. I'm addicted again ... to eBay.

When Bob found out, I promised, "I'll sell for one day. I'll stop tomorrow."

Bob knows about addiction. If I sold every glass (I did), it was my responsibility. He would not be an enabler and buy new glasses.

So I bought them. EBay's got great deals.

I'm not making fun of addictions, but eBay is an addiction — for me.

I sold four sterling spoons that day. Instantly, the PayPal payment came in to my account. Whew! What a high.

On day two, I sold jewelry. Bob said, "You promised, 'I'll stop tomorrow.'"

"Right. Yesterday I said tomorrow. What do you think today is?"

He noticed dinner was on paper plates. He glared. "You sold your mother's china?"

"It's free money! She's dead. What's she going to do — haunt us like the Ghost of Christmas Past?"

"You're Jewish."

"See? Nothing's going to happen," I said.

"Knowing your mother, she'll haunt us like the Angel of Death."

"Bob, Jews don't believe in the Angel of Death. Plus — why do you care? You called her that all the time she was alive."

Then I bargained. "I'll be a social weekend seller."

"You'll never stop there." He

sat on the bed, then screamed in agony. Apparently he had found the sterling knives.

We held hands. His was blood-drenched. "Saralee, you need a higher power."

"You're right." I felt shame. After deep inner searching, I slowly looked up at him, my eyes brimming. He held me in his arms as I finally said, "Sotheby's!" He was not happy.

EBay has abbreviations. NR means no reserve; there's no pre-set price a bidder has to meet. Bob saw my auction title: "CRYSTAL GLASSES MIB!"

"MIB?" he asked.

"Mint condition in their original box — mint in box."

"Of course." Then he picked up an old watch I was selling. It started on the hour and worked for 10 minutes. Then you'd have to advance it to the next hour.

"And this is POC," he said.

"POC?"

"Piece of crap."

And so, Bob has accepted the things he cannot change (me) and hides valuables. (Like I didn't notice my mother's diamond bracelet in the coffee can.)

Last time, he planned an intervention. Close friends or family gather to meet you by surprise and tell you how your addiction is affecting them. I knew he was planning one again because he was taking an unusually long time on e-mail.

After sending the messages, he deleted them and left. So naturally I clicked Recover Mail and saw that Bob wrote when I'd be out, and people should arrive here by 3 p.m. Then I e-mailed everyone, adding my own two cents.

At 3:15, I came home. Gaily, I shouted, "Hi everyone!" Bob somberly began to speak but couldn't be heard over the excitement and clattering of sterling, china and crystal. Yes! I invented the first ever Tupperware-style eBay party. We had a ball: trading jewelry and sharing selling secrets. When one gal said, "I got $1,400 for my watch!," Bob, oddly, became deeply enthralled.

He retrieved my mother's diamond bracelet from the coffee can. The crowd went wild.

And so ... did Bob.

Now he does eBay. A lot. He has blackouts and forgets what he's sold. We have no coffee cups.

"Bob?" I called from the kitchen. "Where's Chickorea? My old china chicken that dispenses soap from its beak?"

He said, "Honey, Chickorea's gone. It was her time. Her eyes were crossed from chipped pieces of paint. Soap dripped from her beak. It wasn't pretty, much less appetizing."

I was crying. "You sold her?"

"Yes. She would have wanted it that way, while she still had some dignity left."

We were in trouble. We had hit bottom. It was time ... to quit.

And so, we're recovering eBay addicts. When one gets an urge, we say, "Just for today. I will not sell."

Instead, we binge on Reese's and beer.