Their eyes are shifting — slowly back and forth — scanning the room, then quickly — they look down at the floor. Arms are folded across their chests. No head movement is detected.
The room is silent. Don't talk. Don't breathe too loudly. It might break the spell.
Was that a flinch or did he just need to scratch his nose?
It's not a standoff or a heated game of poker.
It's an auction.
Bidders are just about as unique as the items they purchase. Some bidders don't want anyone to know they're bidding. So, they make a slight gesture like twitching their pinky finger.
U-u-pp. The auctioneer has a bid.
Others are more brazen and actually raise one of their hands. U-u-pp. He has another bid.
It's a mystery how some auctioneers know when someone makes a bid. Is it a look on the bidder's face or a glare of their eye?
I guess that's why spectators have the downward gaze, scared to make eye contact with anyone who might say, "U-u-pp!"
And the language of an auctioneer — it truly is a craft and a talent. I know it's to give bidders a chance to think about bidding but to me it's like a timer.
"We have $22-two-two-two-two," with the voice trailing down, and then when another bid comes in there's a jubilant, loud "U-u-pp! I have $22.50!"
Back in the old days, more than 20 years ago, for a dollar a person could go to an auction and buy a box of primarily junk/useless items, with the possibility of a few hidden treasures. I don't know how many boxes of that junk I have ended up with over the years, not because I was bidding but because I was pointing to the location of the bathroom to someone or shooing a fly from my face.
Nowadays, the buck boxes are $5 boxes and antique dealers and collectors tend to want that box more than I do. Kind of takes the fun out it.
So I have to be even more careful about using my hands when I talk or smacking a pesky mosquito.
So, raise your hands if you're among those of us who have accidentally made a bid when we were scratching our heads.
Oops, no, better not. Put your hands down unless you want to buy a box of what's-its.
— SUSAN BERG