Monday, May 28, 2007

The Garage Sale

We broke all sales records at our garage sale, making $92.50. Net! Because it took just 46 and a half hours of preparation, Justin, the boys and I collectively made $2 an hour--which is how much I made as an 11-year-old babysitter.

But that's not the point.

The idea was to clear our junk. I think of the attic as the brain of the house, because of its up-top location.

Like many brains, our attic was disorganized. Cluttered. Full of old memories--good and bad. And neurotic about future possibilities. (What if there's a world crisis and I need 80 Easter baskets to save mankind? Yes, sir, I better keep these on hand.)

Now it is clean. It even has empty containers for future storage. So, just as you can work better when your mind is clear, our home should operate more smoothly now. I've also enrolled our house in a yoga program...

Oh, what am I saying? Clearly some of the crazy from our garage sale patrons has rubbed off on me.

Having a sale is like inviting everybody on the city bus to a party in your yard.

You tell them to drop by between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. So half of them arrive at 7:30 a.m. and the other half show up at 5:30 p.m.

They're not there to buy anything--or even get it for free; they simply want to know how much everything costs.

One man wearing an amusement park shirt picked up a glass egg filled with water and a plastic flower.

"This is lovely," he said.

He looked at the price on the bottom: 10 cents.

"You can have it for free," Justin said.

"No, no," he said.

Then he picked up a stone owl.

"Do you collect owls?" he asked.

I started to answer, but it turned out he was asking himself.

"As a youth, people said I did," he said.

"As a boy I collected bananas. When I got older, I thought, 'I can't do this anymore.' And I switched to collecting owls. Which is something older people collect."

This interview--in which he both asked and answered the questions--went on for half an hour.

"Can we trade collectibles for World's of Fun tickets? Ah, now that's a question I'm often asked. I'm afraid it's not that simple..."

After explaining just how complicated the employee discount program is, he tipped his baseball cap.

"Now, it's time to say farewell," he said. "I thank you for letting me look around. Many garage sales have beautiful things. Few have true collectibles like these."

And, yet, he walked away empty-handed.

That's pretty much how things went all day.

But will we have another garage sale next Spring? Probably.


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