Monday, November 05, 2007

How to enjoy your garage sale in seven salient points

So, we had a garage sale yesterday. And by we, I don't mean Birdmonster, although Zach was there with me, waking up far too early on a Sunday morning, drinking Tecate far too early on a Sunday afternoon, and passing out with my clothes on far too early on a Sunday night. Still, spending a sun soaked weekend hawking your old shoes, your unwanted VHS tapes*, and that one chair that smells like a flatulent Grandma is, in my opinion, a good weekend.

It had been a while since I was a part of a garage sale. In fact, I think I was selling my Nintendo out on my childhood driveway, still safely entrenched in the bowl cut, bespectacled, No Fear shirt/Hammer pants phase of my childhood. And, being that my childhood happened after the Industrial Revolution, I was not used to, well, actually having money. Not that I'm bemoaning the lack of 12 hour, black-lung inducing work shifts during my salad days, but that first garage sale provided a sudden and, at the time, rather exciting influx of money---which I of course squandered on a Super Nintendo, which I later sold at another garage sale after my hands starting contorting arthritically from soda-and-Skittles-fueled marathons of Mario Kart and NBA Jam.

But I digress. Yesterday's sale was for the express purpose of ridding ourselves of four years of pack-ratted bric a brac, all while taking in a few dollars for general house repairs. You know, like new light bulbs, some weather-striping, an indoor toilet. And, all in all, it was highly successful: we cleaned out our storage room, we met new and excited neighbors, we don't have to bury our droppings in the yard anymore---all good things, to be certain. In fact, I thoroughly recommend throwing your own garage sale in the next couple weekends. Here are a few tips, freshly learned, to keep in mind:

1- There are professional garage sale shoppers. They will be at your house at 7 a.m. because they did not realize there's a little thing called "Daylight Savings," the night before. Upon seeing a closed garage and no sale-y-ness occurring, they will ring your doorbell until someone answers it in their underwear and demand your finest merchandise at bottom dollar. Try not to punch this person in the face.

2- Other pros will arrive later, say, only fifteen minutes early instead of the patently maniacal hour before hand. They will buy anything you have that's actually worth a damn, leaving you with a strange smorgasboard of out of fashion footwear, broken stereos, a perhaps-soiled mattress, and a teddy bear with a cigarette burn for an eye.

3- Everything you own is crap. After about 9, all the pros have moved on and are reselling that acoustic guitar that can't stay in tune for a whole song to a pawn shop owned by a Skoal-addicted bigot. At this point, you get the jag-offs who say things like "This isn't jewelry, its garbage" and "This movie sucks, you should just give it to me." These wily souls know that nothing makes a garage seller more eager to deal than a constant barrage of insults delivered by cranky freaks with halitosis.

4- Inevitably, something you thought you were selling will be stolen by one of your roommates and worn for the rest of the day. You must be okay with this. For us, a roomie of mine stole my "Hooked on Jesus" fishing hat while I tried on what I thought was a colorful shirt and turned out to be some sort of skin-tight stripped dashiki, which of course I couldn't get off, so I ripped it down the middle like Hulk Hogan, circa 1987, and it became the Technicolor Dreamcoat. It was strangely enjoyable.

5- By about two in afternoon, be willing to take any sort of money for any sort of anything. You will accept pre-Euro Lira for your old stereo; you will accept spray-painted macaroni for your Buick. You will be overcome with a desire to rid yourself of all your various trinkets simply because you can't bear the thought of putting them back. This is natural. When this old lady was waffling as to whether to take my old desk chair, I threw my first born child, Rumpelstiltskin style, and she took it. Critics may cry "short-sighted" at this exchange, but little does she know: I gave her a toddler I kidnapped. Joke's on you, Gladys.

6- While cleaning out the house, you will find things that alternately shock and depress you. If your house is as old as ours, you're dealing with over a century of who-knows-what. Monkey skeletons? Jimmy Hoffa? Be prepared. We found a backpack full of porno. I threw that in for old Gladys too.

7- By all means, be friendly. Beyond the professional hagglers, the vicious insulting of all your old belongings, and the general disregard for everything you own, you're spending a day in the sunshine, getting free money, and meeting neighbors you never knew you had. It's much better than most of my Sundays, which are spent alternately hung over or nursing my Catholic guilt about not going to Sunday mass.

Now, all that remains to do is figuring out what to do with our modest windfall. Perhaps a holiday celebration is in order. Perhaps I buy back that child I sold. Either way, I see happy times ahead. And again, how many Sundays make you feel like that?

* Lost Boys does not count. Hands off.