junk in my trunk

I did too much today and my head is hurting a little. But it was a good day.

I got rid of a lot of stuff at the garage sale and made 180 bucks. At the end someone came to get all the leftover kids’ books for donation. I hauled a load to the family shelter… mostly clothes… Moomin helped me. People were still driving up and taking the free stuff out of my driveway when I got home.

I enjoyed talking to people. Some were obvious garage sale addicts and would try to bond with me by complimenting the quality of my junk. I heard some interesting stories and was often mystified by their choices (an ugly painting in a wooden frame, a book on Hitler, a stuffed animal, and a 10 year old two volume set of Who’s Who: mysterious!) the first to arrive were NOT the retired hoarders that I expected. Instead I had a professional book buyer who was trying to hide that that’s what he was, and a parade of Homies. I am totally serious. The Homies came to my driveway in their monster custom trucks, low rider pants, chunky gold jewelry, prison tattoos, gomina-ed hair and/or knit caps, and their nonchalant pimp walks; in succession they bought all the actually valuable electronics and then a guilt present for their non-custodial children. At least that was my interpretation. My inglespañol was tested out and not found wanting. Then the Homie would sidle nervously up to the part of the driveway with the baby clothes and toys and look at it in bewilderment, picking up tatty stuffed animals and putting them down again like hot potatoes and finally settling on something at random. Absolutely radiating bewilderment and, touchingly, hope.

As I was packing the back of my truck, my customer #1 from 10am came back. “I called my sister and she said my nephew would go crazy for that dino-phone and I was an idiot for not buying it.” I got it out of the back of the truck explaining that I was just going to donate it anyway so he could have it, but if he wanted to give me a dollar that’s cool. He scuffed his feet and gave me a ten! Kind of nice.

Unfortunately Moomin saw this transaction and we drove off in my truck to the sound of “That man tooked my dinosaur! ” Oh fuck! He seemed to accept it but was morose. I lamely said that the dinosaur was going to have adventures. Then I apologized.

We dropped off the truckload and I asked where he would like to go. “The Farm!” He used to request this destination a lot; not a real place but an archetype with a red barn and one of each kind of animal as seen in picture books. So I took him to the run-down Stanffford ranch. Miracle, the kid who owns the little white pony that we always pet there was THERE and spontaneously invited us into the pony corral to pet the beast and feed it. She was 6. I felt that she was definitely pitying us as we stared, starving, through the bars at her.

Last night Ms. D. asked me a funny question as we were talking: “Do you always analyze everything you do at this level?” This made me laugh. Unfortunately for me and everyone directly around me, yes… kind of… I mean I enjoy sitting in my chair at the suburban garage sale thinking about junk and its meanings…

And at other sales I go to I always think of the person who just died, if it’s an estate sale. I like to try to figure out what kind of person they were from what kind of glass tchatchkas they collected.

My great-grandma left very few things and I was with my grandma as she basicallly went through her mom’s underwear drawers. I took all the long black slips and wore them for sleazy lingerie for years. I still have some. Also some silk scarves and some of the lacy triangular widow shawl thingies she always wore on her hair: two black ones and a white one. Buried in all the widow granny clothes was this mysterious thing: a sort of gleaming multicolored spangled rhinestoned thing that I can only call a gypsy hat or headscarf or maybe a turban. My grandma was completely taken aback and said she had never seen it before. But it was clearly a sentimental thing, a memento my nana saved to the end of her life.

When she started to get alzheimers the first year she gave me some stuff, a china teacup and some sort of other china object and a china praying hands thingie. I like to keep the gypsy hat where I can see it. It’s not like I was close to her or anything, but that is the point. I just like to try to imagine what it might have meant to her. Her tiny apartment before she succumbed to the Alzheimers and was in a nursing home was full of junk that made me like her; those china things, and a wall that was all postcards from all over the world. From who? I do not know.

Related posts


Leave a Reply