Friday, May 16, 2008

Come Buy My Crap!

Not the best day for a yard sale. It's cold and rainy here in Bucks County. But after weeks of preparation, this is the Big Event.

My brother and his wife--especially his wife--are reveling in it. I just wasn't cut out for this. This morning, when someone asked how much I wanted for some useless thing or other, plastic plant pot that was split up the side or something, I said, "Really? You'd buy this?"

And by "this morning," I really mean This Morning. The official start time was 9 AM, but people were showing up at 6:30. Sometimes they'll make comments like "I don't know where I'm gonna put this" or "I'm not sure just what I'll use this for" but they plunk down their money and cart it off. When one guy mused, "Something like this... you don't want to throw it away, because it might come in handy for something," I just wanted to say, "Au contraire, mon confrère! It is useless crap and you don't need it." But in that instance, I managed to restrain myself.

So for minimalist me, this is like being locked in an insane asylum. All these people are in dire need of the services of mental health professionals, and here I am helping them load stuff into their trunks.

And there must be an easier way to get rid of all of this. For the first few years I lived in NYC, every Wednesday night, I'd take my laundry down to the laundramat and spend the next couple of hours washing and drying and folding. A roommate pointed out to me that that exact same laundramat offered wash and fold services. I protested: Why would I pay someone to do something that I'm perfectly capable of doing myself?

Because, he explained, your time is valuable. If you imagine paying yourself minimum wage for doing your own laundry, right away you see that it's cheaper to outsource.

And he was right. (Also, along with breakfast and fresh cut flowers, fluff-and-fold is one of the great bargains of New York City.) (Or used to be.)

And after all the hours that my brother and his wife have put into this yard sale--you should see the pricing matrix they came up with, determining what costs 10¢, what costs a quarter, 50¢, and so on... It's like a thesis project in some diabolical MBA program--I'd be hard pressed to imagine that selling mismatched china would pay them anything resembling a decent amount. (And keep in mind, all of the proceeds go into the coffers of my father's estate.) But down in Florida, they spend their Fridays buying, "fixing up," and selling stuff at a local flea market.

Now, at the lunch break, business has been swift. Someone actually bought the goofy looking oak "Entertainment Center," which means that I have to think of a good way of preparing one of my baseball caps to eat because indeed the words, "if anybody buys that, I'll eat my hat."

And out the door goes some more of the Kramer Family Treasures.

Speaking of treasured possessions and the careless shedding thereof, I had an interesting dream the other night. I was going on some kind of retreat or off to do mission work or something with some kind of religious group. We were all piling onto a bus and stowing our luggage underneath. Someone pointed out to me that my footwear, my custom made Wesco harness boots, wouldn't work where we were going. So I took them off and was provided with a pair of booties to wear on the bus. I put my boots with the luggage to be stowed and boarded. Inside the bus, I watched as my boots sat forgotten on the curb. Then a homeless guy saw them, tried them on, and walked off in them. In the dream, I was nonplussed by that, thinking something along the lines of, "Well, I guess I needed them."

However, I woke up in a mini-panic, looking over to reassure myself that my boots were still there.

And they were.

But I continue to be a little unsettled. What did that mean? Leaving behind my boots? Is that even something I could do?

Perhaps the dream, like the yard sale, raises the question: getting rid of so much, what will I keep? What will I hold onto, carrying with me into the future.

The "Entertainment Center" can definitely go. But not my Wescos.

No comments: