Wednesday, November 23, 2011
In Beverly Hills they call it an Estate Sale where crazed hunters/gatherer connoisseurs go looking for a missing Vermeer or Picasso vase.
In my neighborhood it’s called a Yard Sale and the best you can hope for is a Kincaid poster among three-legged tables and broken toasters.
Why do all clothes look like schmattas laid out on lawn? The most expensive shirt seems like it came from a 99 cent store. I suppose context is all. Thrift stores, at least, put them on hangers.
Part of the fun, I’m told, is the haggling. Having spent over fifty years behind a counter I have a low threshold for bargaining. It’s a good thing I wasn’t born in Tangiers or Tijuana. The marketplace is not my kind of place. Name the price and I’ll either buy it or walk away. The last time I protested the price of anything was In Heidelberg, Germany when we bought a doll and I told the vender it was too cheap.
I imagine there are two sorts of people who go Saturday sailing. The weekend explorer searching for a nugget of El Dorado buried in the flotsam; a signed folio by Shakespeare or perhaps a page from the Gutenberg Bible, inscribed by an apostle. Also included in this group are the collectors obsessed with orange juice squeezers or salt & pepper shakers.
The other is the one-time shopper searching for a specific need like a half-moon end table or ergometrically designed computer chair. Or they may be in search of that wayward yellow sock which escaped from a washing machine last year and inched its way across the street. Garage sales are a great source for single socks. Actually I have a thing for un-matched socks. One yellow, one white will do fine though people might talk if they found my body with asymmetrical footsies; so I’ve narrowed my spectrum from navy blue to black to brown.
The whole notion of putting out one’s wares for sale seems to me a noble way of re-cycling for some small change…which could add up to serious money. It’s an underground economy for some folk…selling stuff that fell off the back of a truck. At this stage of life, buying anything ranks low on my list. We are in liquidating mode. When we pass an estate/garage/yard sale we say factiously, It could be important but drive on.
The one notable item I ever picked up occurred over 27 years ago when I first moved in with Peggy. We were cruising around Santa Monica and she was telling me about a book she had read and greatly admired. It was Aldo Leopold’s, Sand County Almanac. She noticed a yard sale up ahead and suggested we check it out, as if there had only been a few dozen books ever written. We spotted a pile and sure enough, there it was, Sand County Almanac. I knew then I was with a woman of remarkable powers.