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Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Floating Boy

Yard much work, so I have to wonder why I do this to myself. Yes, I make money, yes, it can be quite profitable, but I don't think that this fact alone drives me.

I've had many yard sales over the years. At one point I had them out of necessity, a way to eat something other than Mr. Noodles and french fry sandwiches for the week (yes, we all have a past). At one point I had them to rid myself of the belongings of another which were in my possession (that I no longer wanted or needed). I've had them to help specific causes, each creating its own unique memories but why, why now when I don't really need to do this, do I put myself through all this hard work? Why take up my rare beautiful Sat. morning doing this when I could be at the market or the beach?

First there's the preparations. Such a long process. Scan your belongings, pick something up, hold it, ponder, consider, remember, forget, decide how much it is worth...price it, put it in the yard sale box. Now, I don't mind going through all my belongings and deciding what I no longer need but the purging process can be excruciating, the memories, well...the memories...but, It can also be cleansing and freeing. Its amazing how much emotion we can attach to an item.

I'm not one to just throw everything out on sale day and decide what it is worth at the very moment some stranger asks. I like to price everything before. The price scheme seems directly linked to what feel at a certain moment. It was quite notable when and individual approached with 3 articles of clothing. I'd priced each at $1.00, but the smiley faced Joe Boxers she barely wore ONCE when we made love were $5.00! I end up throwing them in for free.

Wouldn't it just be easier on so many levels to donate everything and be done with it I've asked myself?

Yes, it would, I've told myself, but then I would have missed the joy on the face of the little girl who spend a very long time rooting through a bin of fridge magnets finally deciding on a very pretty cat head magnet, minus the magnet but for her, it was THE perfect one as she handed me the hot sweaty toonie she had been holding in her hand and waited for her change.
Then there was the very skinny fridge magnet collecting man from NS who was delighted to find the bin and bought all of them for $5.00. "Made his whole trip worth while" he said. He told me his entire deep freeze is covered in magnets he has collected over the years. Imagine that.

I would have missed the woman who needed a new frying pan because the non- stick surface of hers was wearing off, the man who goes to yard sales to gather things for a seniors group he organizes, and the woman who only has a VCR and has a rough time finding movies to watch. She shares that movies help her get through the night. I ignore my desire to give them all to her, but I must be careful not to insult and ultimately I do want to make some money.

I would have missed the young mother just starting out who needed a toy box/coffee table combo that was safe for her little girl, and also the little boy who bought the cordless mouse for $2.00, but couldn't afford the keyboard, that went with it for $5.00 as he rooted through his plastic wallet, his adult companion leaving the decision entirely up to him. Sweet, as he contemplated the value for his money. Of course I couldn't see him leave without the keyboard he loved so we settled on $3.00 for both.

I would not know that my old writing desk with three drawers (which until the night before was in the basement housing gift wrap supplies) would be refinished by a grandfather and given to a young girl to use in her bedroom as a dresser and a desk.

I would never have met the two lovely older ladies near the end of my sale. One woman was travelling from Oregon. I loved that she knew all about Henry Miller as she chose a movie about his life, and that we had a brief chat about him and lots of other stuff. I could have talked to them all day, but I was burning from the sun's rays.

Mostly though, at least this this round, I love that our inflatable boat which was blown up the night before (despite the down pour) to ensure it had no holes, simply delighted a man who shared with me that he wanted it for his autistic son who finds the sensation of floating calming. He said, "he would love this boat because he could lay down and stretch out in it if he wanted to". That made my day, it made all the work worth while.

Yes, I think what I like most about having yard sales is watching people find a treasure, sharing their joy, listening to their stories and knowing that things I no longer want or need have a whole new life. Yes, that's it! I like knowing there may be a happy boy floating somewhere, maybe today, a beautiful sunny day in our area, in a boat that was deflated in our shed for two seasons. New life, yes, that's why I do it. It gives me & the things I part with new life.


Jeff said...

You bring back memories of the only garage sale I've been part of, when my family sold things as we moved houses.

My mother, too upset to stay around, said later she was glad not to see my first guitar going out, even thought it went to someone who would be learning on it. She _was_ glad to see the fibreglass bow-and-arrow set go, as we all were, since the parts left a strange feeling, like blistering, in our hands; probably safe, but one never knows.

I recall someone trying to barter us down on an item that I refused to let go for the low price he wanted. Another person bought it later without any comment but "thanks." Mr. Bicker would have liked the man who visited us the night before the sale. He had heard about it, and wanted to buy all the LPs and 45s right there and then. My parents said no, that would be unfair to the people who were coming at the scheduled time. He didn't understand this, but finally went away.

You exhibited fairness, and the spirit of bartering, with those who came by, and I think some part of you likes the bartering part of the experience as well.

Good post, Za.

Liza-Jane said...

I do like the bartering Jeff. I take a few seconds, decide how i feel about the person, decide if they are reasonable, decide if this person would give my thing the "new life" I would choose for it and then I decide if I want to let it go. Guess its all about deciding... One does need to have a the ability to deal with people who are unreasonable or rude. That's another post. Thanks for your comment. I love your stories. I would have been like your mom about the 45's and LP's. Yard sale culture is interesting and complicated.