We made almost enough during last month’s Yard Sale to pay for the cost of the therapy sessions I will need to fully recover from having that Yard Sale. There is something about digging old junk out of the closet and scattering it across the driveway that causes one’s dignity to evaporate swifter than the morning dew off an old coffee maker that is missing a sieve but still works fine; only $2.
Several times during the course of the sale I attempted to disguise myself as a customer, a mere browser; wandering aimlessly among stacks of water stained self-help books, pausing every once in awhile to inspect a plastic baggie full of mismatched Mr. Potato Head parts, and shaking my head in feigned disgust as I stood over a pile of gnawed wooden children’s puzzles. This little charade was generally ruined by a poor, unsuspecting customer whose examination of an electronic chessboard would prompt me to sidle up to him, lean over his shoulder and hiss something along the lines of, “Still works. Only $4. Not bad, huh?”
It didn’t take me long to discover that, as far as my junk was concerned, my system of values did not match that of my neighbors. “What do you mean, $35 is too much for an old wooden rocking-horse with matted gray dreadlocks? I rode that rocking horse when I was five years old! I was so innocent then, so sweet. Look at me now!” I’d yell, backing a hapless stranger up against his parked car. Of course, at the other end were the sad souls who were willing to pay top dollar for what was, in my opinion clearly junk. “Can you believe the woman who paid $5 for the mute, one-eyed Furby?” I whispered to my sister. “I didn’t even want to take her money, frankly. How can she live, knowing she could have used that $5 to feed a hungry child, or adopt a highway, or at least buy a sieveless coffee-maker?”
Oh the highs, the lows, the insane roller coaster of ecstasy, grief and vanity that is the hallmark of The Yard Sale. One moment you’re on top of the world, having gotten rid of those bath towels monogrammed with the initials P.U. to the tune of $6; the next minute you’re bartering with a woman who refuses to part with more than fifteen cents for a toy umbrella. “But the asking price is only twenty-five cents,” you say. “Can’t you go the extra ten cents?” Evidently there are those who do not feel they have truly gotten a Yard Sale bargain unless they can make a purchase for less than the cost of the gasoline it took them to back their car onto your lawn.
The strangest part about this particular yard sale was its utter failure to dampen my enthusiasm toward frequenting the yard sales of others. Really, you never know what you’re going to find. And then there’s always the chance that maybe I can buy back some of the things that I got rid of in the heat of the moment at my own yard sale and perhaps shouldn’t have sold. After all, most yard sales are probably made up largely of items purchased long ago at other yard sales. It’s a beautiful cycle. I should have charged more for that rocking horse.