The Great White Whale

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I went to a tag sale looking for a small desk or vanity. I left with a wooden whale bearing the message “Save the Room.”

The whale was hard to spot, a white blob in a tangle of extension cords in a ragged red laundry basket. But once I saw it and the cursive message scrawled in black Sharpie, I wanted to know more.

The owner, a Cape Cod-area artist, made the whale in a last-ditch attempt to save his recovery meeting room at a nearby church. He says people are so hopped up on coffee  that they can’t keep quiet at their dawn meeting. That would be OK except the noise angered some neighbors, who wanted them out.

With their meeting place in jeopardy, everybody tried to behave.  When things got loud, people shouted “Hey be quiet,” which just made more noise. It’s like the mother on her lounge chair during my recent trip South. She implored her boisterous sons to behave “because everyone’s trying to relax.” They weren’t annoying, but she was. I finally retreated to a hammock out of her range. Note to Mom: When you tell kids to stop, follow through. If your pleas are ignored, let the boys play.

Much like the kids, the meeting-goers ignored repeated pleas to turn down the volume, so the artist made the whale. At first, he scribbled “Quiet please!” on it. When that failed, he got desperate: “Save the Room.”

I think you know what happened. The artist eventually brought the whale home, where it sat in his house gathering dust. It ended up on his front lawn with some old furniture, home goods, sports equipment and a scooter. He’s making room for an in-home studio, happily selling me the whale, a ceramic teapot, flower stand and handmade mirror for $20. Oh, and as a parting gift, I got a tiny painting.

The meetings? Still loud. “They’re all a bunch of boneheads,” said the artist, shaking his head.

I cleaned the whale and plan to hang it in my kitchen. I think I’ll use the “Save the Room” side or paint it. Asking people to be quiet in a kitchen makes no sense at all.


2 thoughts on “The Great White Whale

  1. I love that you plan to put the whale in the kitchen – the center of activity in the house, especially if you’re Italian.
    Gianni Pasta


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