Another man’s gold

by Pari

Saturday yard sale. Card tables covered with the detritus of excess — too many impulse buys — no way to make order of any of it:

  Dick & Jane refrigerator magnets
  only-once used complete fondue set (with cans of “eco-flame”)
  the weird wrought iron candelabra given as a wedding gift and so ugly the people who bought it must’ve been feeling hostile that day
  the outgrown silvery flapper dress that was worn for Halloween
  the rollerblades, black with purple trim, bought with the hope of exercise
  boxes of books , hardcover and paperbacks, read and reread

“How much?”
“Would you take a dime for that?”
“Does it work?”
“Are all the pieces in this puzzle?”
“Do you have anything old?”
“What’s this?”
“It doesn’t look like sterling.”

We sit under a 50+ year old Ponderosa pine, its shade enough to drop the temperature 10 degrees compared to the eye-scorching sunlight just three feet away.

Cars pass
Slow down
Swerve to the wrong side of the road.

“You got any furniture?”
“How long you going to stay open?”
“You moving?”

Hours drag . ..  8 am, 9 am, noon . . . The Tabu-scented candle begins to melt, its strong sweet ‘n’ spicy smell evoking visions of lime green leisure suits and bad haircuts.

A car stops.

“You’ve got good books.”
“Really? I’ll take it.”
“I don’t know what I’m looking for, but I’ll know it when I see it.”
“Found it.”

Conversations pass the time and amuse:

An Afghani man shakes his head, his thick slicked down gray hair not moving even a millimeter. In a thick accent (though he’s been in the country since 1991), he says, “The years go by too quickly. Yesterday I was thirteen, today I’m fifty-eight.”

He walks away with nothing, but turns to my kids. “Always listen to your parents. Always! Do what they say. They know best.” He pauses. “Your parents are the only ones who’ll tell you the truth. Young men will lie. They’re all crooks.”

My kids smile politely.

A woman in a long Indian cotton skirt, braless too — as groovy as they come — brown hair hanging down past her waist:  “Oh my God! I can’t believe you’ve got this. You’ve just saved me having to figure out how to make helmets for my Transformer costumes.”

She leaves with four complete sets of bright red Tae Kwon Do protective gear and a custom-made wood and silver hair pin and ten books and a ring.

A neighbor stops by.  “Your signs are too small.”

He puts out bigger ones from his own past sales. More people come.

Most leave with small purchases:

  A pack of playing cards from Russia
  A box of clunky old computer keyboards
  A bag of multi-colored plastic beads . . .

Tonight: Sushi!

My question to you:
What did you do last weekend?

15 thoughts on “Another man’s gold

  1. billie hinton

    I was on a glorious writing retreat in a mtn. cabin on a rushing stream. Got good work done on the new novel and enjoyed the company of three other writing women. Lots of good food, laughter, a few tears, and good work being done.

  2. Tammy Cravit

    Yard sales are so much fun sometimes!

    I actually went to the pistol range and participated in my first defensive pistol competition. I was a lovely day with great people, and the weather mostly cooperated, so I had a lot of fun. Score was lousy, but since it was my first time, I figure that since I didn't shoot anybody or get disqualified all the rest is bonus. 🙂

  3. Pari Noskin

    That sounds like heaven.

    Congrats on the first time! The score really shouldn't matter at all. I just love that you did it and had a good time in the process.

  4. Alaina

    What's a 'weekend'? If you go by the traditional Saturday/Sunday, I worked 8 hours at McDonalds each day and cleaned the house the rest of it. But I have Monday and Tuesday off– first time I got two days off in a row in, oh, ages– so I should do… something. Besides my current 'put out the trash cans, wash every dish in the house because certain other family members refuse to lift a finger, read blogs' day.

  5. Reine

    I sat, and I worried.
    I tilted back, and I worried.
    I reclined, and I worried.
    I sat back up and made my chair dance.

  6. Tammy Cravit

    Thanks, Pari! It was glorious fun and I can't wait to do it again.

    Can you shoot me an e-mail with your current email address? There's something else I wanted to share, but not in public on a blog.

  7. Zoë Sharp

    Hi Pari

    Wonderfully descriptive, as always. The opportunities for people-watching and character studies at a yard sale are endless, aren't they?

    Last weekend? Hmm, I went out with the neighbours to a local garden centre and bought rose bushes for the edge of the lawn, including a climber called Himalayan Musk that threatens to reach 30 feet if I don't somehow manage to kill it first. On the way back we stopped in for lunch at an organic farm shop and café housed in a fabulous modern energy-efficient building with a grass roof (kept in trim by the sheep) and washroom doors made from recycled plastic bottles.

    I failed to plant the roses because it was too wet to start digging holes for them.

    I wrote. I Tweeted, I Facebooked, I Goodreaded. (?)

    I wrote some more.

    I booked a ferry to the Outer Hebrides, outward from Oban and back via the Isle of Skye.

    I dug out a pair of passive crossovers from the attic so I can put new speakers in my car doors.

    I wrote some more.

    I cleaned most of the upstairs windows (except the one where the housemartins are nesting because I don't want to disturb them, even though they are TOTALLY incontinent) and gave the outside of the glass a coat of Rain-X to see if that will stop them getting dirty as fast.

    I looked at cover designs for the new standalone and a short story out soon.

    I wrote some more.

    I slept in three-hour batches, listened to opera, dreamed.

  8. Alexandra Sokoloff

    Half of me is wired exactly the way Zoe is. The writing half. The other half… not so much. (Passive crossovers? You have no idea where my mind went on that…)

    I edited, rewrote, edited, rewrote, and finished the revisions on my paranormal due this week. Luckily I kind of LIVE it when I'm doing it or it would be kind of pathetic.

  9. MitMoi.ItsMe

    Now I'm wishing I'd spent a portion of my weekend, "… book[ing] a ferry to the Outer Hebrides, outward from Oban and back via the Isle of Skye."

    Instead, I dusted my Scotch collection, read (on the kindle & on the internet), and did housework. *sigh*

  10. KDJames

    Pari, only you could make a yard sale in the heat of summer sound fascinating. Your talent for description is a thing of joy.

    This past weekend I worked up my courage and wrote a blog post about the changes in my life and my writing. And honestly, I was expecting *crickets* and/or disappointment in the comments. Instead I'm getting a bunch of people cheering me on. I am so very fortunate in my friendships. It's humbling.

    I also wrote fiction.

    And snuggled my elderly cat when she demanded I do so. Not many of those moments left, I suspect.

    I, too, wish I'd booked a ferry ride. Although I think the closest ferry is several hours away in the Outer Banks. Time I'll spend writing instead.

  11. Pari Noskin

    Oh, my. Could you please send some of that rain to NM? We really need it.
    And good on you for writing AND cleaning.
    Can I come visit you sometime? I want to ride that ferry and see those roses!

    I yearn for the writing life again and want to find a way to be able to live it w/o distraction (I don't want to wait until I retire from full-time work either!).

    Your Scotch collection? Um . . . I happen to love Scotch. Tell me more.

    I'm glad you wrote that blog and that you're getting some good reinforcement for having done so. That's so important.
    Give your kitty a snuggle for me, too. I wish I could have a cat, but one of my kids is allergic. Perhaps when the nest is totally empty I'll be able to indulge in a furry friend again.

  12. Jaden Terrell

    Pari, I loved your description of the yard sale.

    I worked on Killer Nashville last weekend, and this weekend the same, since the conference is coming soon. But it's going to be a ton of fun. We have C.J. Box, Peter Straub, Heywood Gould, and a host of other talented people coming.

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