Going Once, Going Twice


Jade Najarro, Writer

I don’t think that most people my age would consider going to an auction a “bonding experience.” In fact, I don’t think that most people my age have ever even been to an auction. I mean, it does seem like a very peculiar activity to go to, much less one you would want to go with your friends on a Friday night. I mean, all you even do is sit in a big room and compete against other people to buy some random thing. Who in the world would bond with someone over that?

Well, my dad and I would.

Back when I was in Elementary school, there used to be an auction house close to my neighborhood. I’m talking like right down the road, kind of close. They held it in this weird building that’s been there ever since I was born, and probably even longer than that. It’s a long, rectangular building with a sloped roof and five doors on one side, each leading into a separate room. At first glance, it could pass as a drive-up motel or one of those buildings that law offices use. However, once you get closer, you see that each door looks like one used for a regular house instead of a motel or business. Not only that but above each entryway is a small porchlight that emits a yellowish light when it’s turned on. Again, something that you’d see outside a typical house. What’s even weirder is that if you go to the other sides of the building, you’ll find five big warehouse doors, each of which connects to a different room. But it doesn’t stop there.

Once you go inside one of the rooms, you’ll find that it’s massive inside. It’s much bigger than a standard motel room. Instead, it’s more akin to the inside of a small business. It would certainly suit a room of that size. The floors are abnormal too. Instead of being entirely flat, there are sections where it’s elevated, almost like a small stage. It raises the mystery even more of what in the world this building is. I can only describe it as a warehouse that someone failed to turn into a motel, but even that doesn’t sound right.

But all of this didn’t matter to me as a kid. All that mattered was that my dad would take me down to that weird building for the auction they held there twice every week. I’m not sure when he started going to it or when I began to tag along with him, but I do know that I always looked forward to joining him. We usually went on a Friday or Saturday, sometimes a Thursday. The schedule was a little weird. It always took place in the evening, so my dad would come up to me after dinner and ask if I wanted to go to the auction with him. There were times when I would say no, but most of the time, I said yes. There were also times when my sister would join too, but it would just be my dad and me most of the time. Before we would leave, my mom would always make sure to ask where we were going.

“You guys going to the auction?” She’d say from the living room as we made our way to the front door. The front door to our house is below the living room, off to the side of it, so this conversation usually took place when I was halfway down the stairs.

“Yep!” I’d reply enthusiastically. My dad would make a grunt of agreement as well.

“Well, have fun, and be careful. I love you.” My mom never tagged along with us; I think she’d only gone like 2 or 3 times. As a result, she always stayed home to watch TV in the recliner. Whenever she said goodbye, I’d always reply and say I love you too to her before hopping into my dad’s car, ready to see what kinds of treasures we’d be able to find that night.

Now keep in mind this auction wasn’t one of those fancy ones where they bid on priceless paintings or expensive jewelry. The one near my house was very much the opposite of that. Most of the items up for bid were second-hand, most probably stuff that people just didn’t want anymore. I remember some things came from packages that someone had already opened. The middle of the room was filled with folding chairs for people to sit on, and mix-matched couches and recliners lined the wall closest to the door. Surprisingly, they were all pretty comfortable to sit in. In one of the corners, they had set up a small kitchen, where a lady who everyone called Granny sold various sorts of snacks and foods. The smell of grease always hung in the air whenever you walked in because of it.

Now you might be wondering, how can my dad and I bond over this crummy action? Well, not only did we find it enjoyable, my dad and I’s way of bonding is just really straightforward. Let me explain. Whenever my dad and I do something together, whether it be shopping or watching a movie or whatever, we usually don’t talk a whole lot. We just let a pleasant, comfortable silence fall in between us. If we’re at home, then we’ll sometimes have music or a TV show playing in the background, but besides that, we’re primarily silent. We only ever break the silence to talk about how things have been or something random. This all, of course, applied to when we were at the auction. We’d sit in the folding chairs, silently watching countless items go up for bid as the auctioneer rambled off what sounded like inconceivable nonsense to me. Occasionally, we’d talk to each other about what item was currently up for bid or if I wanted to beg him to get me something.

That’s what a usual night at the auction looked like for us—just sitting around waiting to see if anything worthwhile would appear. If I were hungry, I’d ask my dad for some money so that I could get a snack from Granny. I always got a jumbo pickle for us to share. The bottom half of it was wrapped in parchment paper and tinfoil to prevent the juices from getting on your hand. It never worked all that well, though. If I ever got thirsty, I would walk up to the auctioneer’s desk, hand him a dollar, and then grab a can of soda from the mini-fridge that was there. For some reason, the auctioneer was selling the drinks instead of Granny. Even if he were in the middle of talking, you’d hand him your money for your drink. He would always pause slightly to acknowledge you before getting straight back into spouting his chants. Other than that, I’d be sitting in my seat watching videos on my phone whenever I got bored.

Then, if we were lucky, something that caught either of our eyes would show up for bid. For me, I was always on the lookout for video games or toys I thought were cool. On the other hand, my dad looked for more practical things, like spare mechanical parts or clothing items we could use. Whatever it was, if it caught any of our eyes, my dad was the one who would always start bidding. He was able to decipher what the auctioneer was saying, and he, of course, didn’t trust me to bid on anything since I was a kid. If things didn’t get too expensive, he’d keep bidding until he eventually won. We got a good amount of stuff during our time there, some of which we still use today.

My favorite part of the auction, or really whenever my dad and I bond, is when he just explained things to me. I can just ask him about literally anything, and he’ll have an answer most of the time. I’m not sure why, but I’ve always liked hearing him break down things for me to help me understand them. It’s one of my favorite things about him. So whenever an item I wasn’t familiar with showed up at the auction, I’d always ask my dad what it was. One time, many camouflage hunting tools were up for bid, and one of them was a little duck call. My dad likes to hunt, so he, of course, bid on it until he won. When he sat back down after paying the auctioneer and retrieving the items, I quickly leaned over and looked at all the tools. The duck call caught my eye.

“Daddy, what’s that?” I asked as I picked up the call. It was in an unopened package, but it was in one of those annoying plastic ones. You know, the tight ones you have to cut open with a pair of scissors.

“It’s a duck call.” My dad replied. “When you blow through it, it makes a sound like a duck.”

“Oh! Like the ones they use on Duck Dynasty!” Duck Dynasty was a reality show we watched together about a family of duck hunters.

“Yeah, just like on Duck Dynasty.” He chuckled. “You want to keep it?”

“Yeah! Thank you!”

“No problem, sweetheart.” That duck call is still somewhere in my room. I haven’t touched it in years, but I can still remember blowing through it as a kid, loving the funny sound that came out.

My dad and I kept going to the auction for about a year and continued to pick up various types of stuff. My favorite thing that my dad snagged for me was a used Nintendo 3DS with a single game inside it. When the auctioneer announced it to the crowd, I immediately perked up in my seat. Quickly turning over to my dad, I begged him hard to bid on it for me, and he eventually caved in. I became the happiest girl in the world when he handed that 3DS to me after he paid the auctioneer. Unfortunately, I lost it when I brought it to school one day. I’m still sad about that to this day.

Suddenly, however, the auction decided to close its doors for good. To this day, I still don’t know why they chose to do that, but what I do know is that they were moving to another location. That new location, however, was way farther away from our neighborhood. This meant that my dad and I wouldn’t be able to go to it anymore. I remembered feeling very upset by the news. I mean, who wouldn’t? If all of a sudden you couldn’t do your special activity with someone you cared about, I bet you would be pretty upset too. My dad and I still did stuff and bonded together, but there were times when I still missed the auction.


Now, my parents are divorced. They both have equal custody over me, meaning I can visit either of them whenever I want. However, my dad lives 15 minutes away from me now, so I’m not able to see him as much as I want to. I mostly see him on the weekends, but even that time is cut short because I have work those days. I miss seeing him. I miss sitting around the house with him whenever I come home from school. I miss not having to worry when I’ll see him next. It hurts. However, I try to remember those special times we shared at the auction when I feel like this. Where we both sat in that weird auction house, watching countless items go by before we found one that was just right for us. Whenever I do, I always feel a little better. Because I’m reminded of just how much I love my dad.