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Yard Sales

Jul 13 2002

I had nothing for breakfast except orange food. That's what Alisa offered me. Canteloupe, Carrots, and Orange Juice. This was right before we took off in a borrowed Jeep on our Saturday morning yard sale adventure.

Tara and Alisa just moved into a new house, a venerable old building in a pleasant neighborhood in East Salt Lake. The wood floors, the early 20th century tiling, and other decorative touches are quite pleasant. Despite this, they have made the decision to complement the house with furniture. "Nesting," Alisa says. She thinks she will settle there for a while.

So off we drove this morning, in search of furniture other people didn't want any more. Recently, I have been searching for things that are hard to find: trustworthy health insurance that will cover me nationwide, work worth doing that will pay sufficient to live on, tasty dairy-free cheese, and true love. It is a relief to search for things for which there are signs posted on every other corner, things you can find 10 of in an hour by simply driving up and down the street.

The first yard sale had a black cat named Oreo. He was not for sale, explained a young girl, and one should not attempt to pet him on the tummy, even if he presented it, because he has scratches there. He used to have a white patch there as well, from which she drew the name, but it faded. Oreo was content to accept a head scratching and watch customers go through things. Tara took a shining to a folding wooden chair that looked deceptively uncomfortable, but when I had seated myself in it, I found myself inclined to stay there (literaly and figuritavely). She purchased it; I eyed some sandals, but considered the sufficient nature of those I was wearing, and the curse of affluenza.

Yard sale #2 had lots of children's clothing, and old tapes, and appliances, and knick knacks. This is the content of most yard sales. I wondered how many children it must have taken to produce this much used clothing. Then I realized that I've forgotten what it's like to grow out of everything you can wear inside of 18 months. Now I only grow out of habits, jobs, places, and sometimes, unfortunately, relationships.

Yard sale #3 was office products... an entire yard sale full of office products. Notepads, pencils, pencil sharpeners, pens, day planners, day planner filler, desk organizers, and -- you guessed it -- much, much more. It probably could have all covered a city park, if layed end to end, and at prices that might not have paid for a weeks watering budget for the same park (especially these days). Alisa and Tara are both teachers, and Tara is a writer, so they were pretty excited about this. I nosed through everything, but refused to buy, even eschewing the most curious item I found, a mobile desk designed to fit into cars. Eventually, its uniqueness drew me back, and the man in charge of the sale offered it to me for $10. I bought it. With pleasure, I later noted retail is above $160.

Yard Sale #4 was at a house that was clearly being remodeled. One woman asked the proprietors if she could buy the front door. There were two broken chairs entwined, leaning against each other and standing, and I suddenly saw as a sculpture or metaphor. Alisa and Tara bought two chairs which were whole, fine brown wood with muted green elegant cusions. I watched the fountain that was being remodeled in the yard. An underground stream that ran through the neighborhood surfaced nearby.

Yard Sale #5 had speakers, and picture frames, and a baby. The Jeep was full enough by this time that Tara and I were sharing a seat, but a few picture frames were bought, and we took some time to look at the baby before going back to the house.

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