Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Haute to the Bitter End

(Note: this post describes an event that occurred about a year ago. Enough time has passed for me to look at this photo and laugh without any sadness and gain a new perspective about that day.)

I came across this urn...how else? um, urn shopping. We were in Taipei and in the process of selecting one for my awesome, amazing, beautiful grandmother who passed away last year.

At the time, my family and I had been operating as husks of people. Our tears, life and soul juices had been sucked away by grief and the stress of settling her affairs. We couldn't even remember when we'd felt anything but sorrow and tiredness. The shop owner was properly somber and solicitous as he showed us his inventory which was housed behind glass cabinets and lit by flourescent lights.

I turned my head, and saw it sitting on a podium outside of the glass.

"Is that...that....what I THINK it is?!?!!?"

Everyone in the room turned to look, and then I heard a


then a


followed by a


and finally....laughter.

My mother turned to the owner of the urn shop and breathlessly asked,"Is it real?"

The owner dropped his act and spoke to her like a normal human being.

In a casual tone he replied,"Oh of course not. Louis Vuitton definately doesn't manufacture urns. This one was a custom job, we handle those too....and sometimes... we get some odd requests."

I took out my digital camera and the owner nodded his head, granting me permission.

I snapped a photo. "WOW!!!...How odd?" I asked.

He beamed. I'd taken his bait.

"We've also done Hello Kitty."

I know it might seem initially cruel or disrespectful to laugh at something like this. But in life one of the things that had really gotten on my grandmother's grits was materialism. She herself was a wealthy enough woman, but had felt that luxury brands were pointless...and the people who loved them were misled fools who paid good money to act as walking billboards . Simply put, had she been in the room with us, she would have gasped and said,"真的嗎?!這是真的嗎?!開完笑!" ("HONESTLY?! IS THIS FOR REAL? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!??!" )

And because of her influence, her children and grandchildren all felt the same...and could finally share in a laugh over something that would have sent my grandmother into bouts of laughter for daaaaaaaays.

In the end, we went with a simple yet elegant pale rose jade. She would have loved it.

( Those Hello Kitty urns were made for adults...had it been for children it would have been less funny and more logical. Well, at least to us.)


Anni said...

Awesome. Really good and interesting and useful information.

Hiding in Asia said...

Wow, thanks Anni!


I'd like to know how so!

Chris Churcher said...

I would be interested to meet the person who commissioned this piece; I want to know why! Perhaps it really was a member of the Vuitton family!

maggie said...

I saw that this was an old post but I just HAD to comment. This is some crazy sheeut!