LAMENT FOR A COAT

I feel like I lost a game seven today. I feel like I was Indiana Jones coming this close to a valuable artifact and then having it slip away. Why? Let me back it up a bit.

I’ve written about this before, so if it begins to sound familiar, bear with me because there’s more to it now. I used to own this beautiful three-quarter length black nylon coat from Banana Republic. I loved that coat. Yep, the same one that I got over 50% off the original price, the same one that I was wearing when some dude tried to pick me up in Pacific Centre (I politely declined, but hey, a compliment is a compliment right?), and the same one that even caused Garrett Knights to give the coat a thumbs-up (and if you know Garrett, it’s once a century when he comments on anything fashion related). If you’ve been reading erwintang.com, you know I’ve written about this before and how much that coat meant to me.

Now, you might also know that one day in late spring I just realized I didn’t know where the hell my coat was. It was simply gone. I had no memory of the last time I wore it. It was gone from my closet. I search high and low for it. Other people’s rooms. Lost and founds of my regular haunts. I found not a trace of my beloved coat. It was puzzling and it was frustrating.

For many weeks, I did not know what to do. As the weather turned warmer, the thoughts of my coat went away. As September rolled around and the days got cooler, I was reminded of how nice it would be to slip on good old Betsy again (I think I just named my coat).

A look at the local BR stores revealed none of their current coats would do as a replacements. The one that came closest was $350 and it didn’t even come in my size. A look at other stores quickly led no where. It was becoming clear that I needed to find another coat of the exact same style to satisfy my yearning.

To that end, I turned to one thing that could possibly help me in this situation. The Internet. More specifically, I turned to eBay. Since the end of September, I have been searching eBay for Banana Republic coats and jackets. For weeks, all my searches were fruitless, only yielding items that were not even remotely close to what I wanted.

Then four days ago, among the many useless items BR, my eye caught this description “NEW BANANA REPUBLIC RAIN/TRENCH COAT JACKET S”. Could it be? Perchance? I clicked on the link for more info. As the page loaded up, my heart skipped. The picture looked promising. It seemed like my coat. I scrolled down to view the other pictures of the item. Yes, yes… yes, this looked exactly like my coat. The buttons were the right size and shape. The pockets were in the right place. There were a list of dimensions for the coat. I nervously copied them down and denoted the item for tracking. I logged off and waited to borrow a tape measure the next day. There was a sliver of hope in my heart.

The next day, I checked the dimensions against a jean jacket that fit me perfectly. The coat on eBay would fit me fine. This was it. The first tangible and real chance for me to reclaim my coat, albeit a different one. The auction was to end on Thanksgiving Day at 10:08am. It was three days away. I didn’t bid right away. Whenever I bid on eBay, I never bid until minutes before the auction ends. It’s just my strategy.

Over the next few days, I checked the item for new bids. The night before the auction end, there were a total of two bids since I had found the item. The bid was stuck at $31 USD. It was too good to be true. Would I get the coat for even cheaper than my original? Now, at my parents’ place for the long weekend, I carefully set my alarm for 9:45am.

I awoke the next morning at the appointed time and logged on with fifteen minutes to go. I spent the next few minutes checking news and sports sites, occasionally re-loading the item page. There were no new bids. This was a good sign. I kept on reading when I did one last re-load. Auction ends : 1 min 54 secs. Whoa, it was getting near the end. In hindsight, I probably should have waited a bit longer, but I was nervous. I clicked on Bid Now and put in a bid one dollar than the highest bid. I was rewarded with the message, You are the highest bidder. I stepped away from the computer momentarily. Was I less than two minutes away from my months long goal? I came back and reloaded the page. A problem came up. I had been outbid. It was now at $42 USD. I wasn’t going to let ten dollars let this coat get away from me. I quickly put in my bid for $42.10, only there was another problem. Instead of me being the highest bidder, I was at a confirmation screen asking me I wanted to increase my bid. Someone had more than doubled the bid. I would have to enter in a bid of $87 USD. I froze from shock and indecision. What the hell? Who was doing this? $87 USD was $115 in Canadian funds. Add the $30 CAD in shipping and I was looking at about $150 in total, way above what I paid originally. Time was scarce and the seconds were slipping away. What to do? What to do? I coudn’t do it. I couldn’t pay that much for it. It just didn’t seem right. I let it go.

It was over like that. I wasn’t sure what to feel. I felt deflated and disappointment. It didn’t turn out the way I wanted. I just didn’t want to pay that much. It seemed ridiculous, especially since I’m a poor student now. I had come this close. The more I thought about it, the more dejected I felt. My sister took me to IHOP and bought me breakfast. It was a nice gesture which I appreciated. Afterwards, I told her now at least I felt full and dejected, whereas before I was hungry and dejected.

So, my search continues. Later, to my surprise, I found two of the same coat in another auction. The only problem? They were a medium and a large. They only come in small, medium, and large, and this auction had every size… except the one I needed. Instead of being downtrodden though, that auction gave me a small amount of hope. There were two more coats out there! Maybe there’s another small out there too.

I will keep looking. I am reminded of the various TV shows which all centered on a acheiving a single, arduous goal. I am Marshall, Will, and Holly looking for a portal back to their own time. I am the crew of the Battlestar Galactica looking for the mythical planet Earth. I am David Banner going from town to town, looking for a cure for the gamma radiation. I am Dr. Sam Beckett, trying to leap one last time into his own body. Hey, incidently, most of the shows I’ve listed have kick-ass themes.

Anyways, I’ve got to keep looking and fighting the good fight. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I gotta get my backpack and head down the only road out of this small town. As I stick out my thumb to hitchhike, the soulful sounds of a piano will play me out.

Ten points to anyone who knows what I’m talking about!

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