I woke up early this morning (before the toddler voice screamed bring me juice! through the monitor). Not sure exactly what woke me up-- be it the veritable Everest of blankets, tossed on top of me by an overheated husband-- or the annoying cat mouthing his grievances from the playroom downstairs-- or a fleeting itch, forgotten in the waking.
However, I think it was probably far less poetic than that. I think it was the subconscious remembering-- today is the annual McMansion neighborhood garage sale. Garage sale!
Most of the year, those two words hold no sway for me. I have so many of my own outdated knicknacks nesting in my closets, why should I go and browse those of others? And, might I add, those "others" inevitably are of the dried-flower, not-my-taste variety.
Last year my girlfriend and I packed her minivan full of stuff that has actually been very useful this past year-- the kids' table and chairs, the pop-up tent, the train table, the cardboard bricks. In one fell swoop I populated my giganto-basement with things that make the toddler heart go boom-boom. And somehow, in it, is some measure of pride.
I have thought about this a lot recently... I've caught myself bragging about how good of a deal I got on something.
Beautiful necklace. Yeah, $10, can you believe that? With matching earrings, too... though I wouldn't wear the earrings. I don't like matchy-matchy.
Nice chair cushions. Where did you get them? Homemade. A deal on the fabric, too.
That shirt is really flattering on you. Thanks. $4 on total clearance at Target. You can't beat that, can you?
And the list goes on and on and on... What does it say about me-- am I deflating myself? Or am I somehow trying to make myself look smarter, i.e. I'm no schlub and I won't pay retail?
I'm not sure that it's either. Or perhaps it's both. All of the above. With a little dash of hunter-gatherer thrown in for measure.
Whatever it is, I'm not sure whether I inherited it genetically or via conditioning by my mom (she who spends 2-3 hours mozeying around Target humming and talking to herself and getting "ideas"). (Translation: these "ideas" usually cost money, be they expensive or cheap.)
Yes, buying is the opportunity to add a little patch of something onto reality. It's just important to realize it's only a small patch (ergo, it should probably be as inexpensive as possible), lest one become convinced that it actually changes something.
When I finally hit out for the garage sales (after the child was at school), it started to look ominous out. Ominous, quickly followed by torrents of rain. I made mad dashes in and out of the car. I found a few cute little odds and ends, but not large victories like my friend, who pulled up with her minivan packed to the gills again. Her "scores"? A drum set. A small motorized ride-on jeep. (Excuse me, but what the f%#k was she thinking? These sound like mother torturing devices...)
Then, as she drove away, I swore I could hear the drumroll. Man those things are loud, I thought, and was disappointed when I realized it was only the thunder.