Fall has arrived and this morning is considerably colder than last Saturday. This seems to create a different experience as the rays of bright sun radiate through the thin cold air on to random piles of flotsam and jetsam of peoples lives placed in yards and driveways. The sellers are more fidgety and less relaxed in the early morning chill, as they stand in jackets and coats looking over their piles of items of no use to them any more. Are people more willing to get rid of things as the seasons turn cold or do they react to their nesting instincts and keep useless things in their homes? Do they ponder that odd shaped soaps, out of date travel books and attempts at art may help them through the winter months?
The newspaper shows a long listing of sales, but most of these are outside the perimeter. Perhaps that region follows a different cycle than the neighborhoods surrounding my home.
Sadly, today I have several things I need to do in addition to feeding my yard sale habit. The main chore of the day is trying to protect Cindy’s fishpond from attack by predators. A few nights ago some unknown creature came and ate our fish Splash, Splish and Dick leaving only Moby to fend for him self. So my main job today is to erect some sort of barrier over the small pond to keep out this unknown carnivorous intruder, be it cat, raccoon or wandering schizophrenic from the shelter down the street.
Connecticut Ave- Lake Claire
Two adjacent homes have sales in parallel driveways. One woman is selling several books- “Smart Women, Foolish Choices” and “From PMS to Menopause”. She is also parting with a selection of unused rattraps, boxes of insect fogger and an unused inflatable bed. The other driveway has cans of sterno and a very ugly portrait of a clown.
I buy nothing.
Rosedale Rd.- Virginia Highlands
I head to Va-Hi since there is an estate sale in this neighborhood. But I am starting to have second thoughts of spending my Saturday mornings in this overpriced section of the city. This sale with relatively large signs is quite meager. Among the items is a copy of Sim Golf, a scary looking child’s mobile, a book –“The strong willed child” some kids clothing and a monitor for $10.
I buy nothing.
Amsterdam Ave.-Virginia Highlands –Estate Sale
This is a real estate sale inside a brick home that looks small from the outside. Inside it’s a peculiar labyrinth of split-levels and short staircases. The interior is illuminated by shadeless lamps with bright bare bulbs that cause an annoying blindness when you encounter them. A chair full of framed family ortraits gives an indication of who formerly resided here. In one room is women’s clothing from the 1970’s including a trunk full of belts and a large pile of gloves. On a table is a soup tureen shaped like a bass. In a corner is a small black and white TV tuned to PBS for which the sellers are asking $5. In a closet I find two sets of matching luggage, one has a tag from the Pagoda Hotel and Floating Restaurant. A small closest is filled with old telephones. I examine some books- “Arthritis and Common Sense”, “Day by Day with Billy Graham”. I pull out a first edition of Masters and Johnson’s “Human Sexual Response” (17th printing) to find the stamp of the Unitarian Universalist School on the inside cover. Was this book secretly purloined from a church library? On one of the lower levels past a table full of bottles and boxes of cleaning products are more books. One is a 40 year old self help tome entitled “You don’t have to exercise”. The most remarkable work is “Nurses Verses” an anthology of poetry by America’s nurses. Some of the poems include “Hospital Dawn” and “Endocrinology”
I consider buying these two books but leave empty handed.
Orme Cir- Morningside
A large house with a small and disappointing sale with two framed Kandinsky posters and a clothesline full of women’s clothes.
I buy nothing.
Cresthill St.- Morningside- Street sale.
Street sales always seem promising but seem to always disappoint. As I have said before that since the sellers are not having a full-blown sale where they are moving, combining a household, desperately needing space or money or just trying to clean house, these sales lack intensity. In an upscale area like Morningside, sometimes I think people just haul stuff out to impress their neighbors about what they don’t need. As in “I’m so well off I no longer need this food processor” or “My children don’t even need these books or clothes anymore”
In addition it is very hard to get a feeling about anyone’s life when each household is only putting out a dozen or so items. On this street of about eight sales nearly every home has a computer monitor they were getting rid of. Among other items of note are an Easter Tree still in the box, Prince Andrew’s Royal Wedding on VHS, a Precious Hands hand molding kit,(never opened) and a lot of baby items. One woman had a bag full of paperback books. I pulled out a copy of Isabel Allende’s “Portrait in Sepia” and ask the price. She says the books are $5. Startled I reply, that I never pay over 50 cents for a paperback at a yard sale. She then remarks to someone next to her in that almost all books on Half Bay are $5 or more. I turn and say “But this is a yard sale”. She then gets this fearful look in her eye as though I am about to cause some sort of yard sale riot. But I leave saying nothing more to this poor disturbed individual who will have these books she no longer needs sitting in her den taking up space for possibly the rest of her life. While this out of touch pricing disturbs me it also entertains me. I am equally bemused by someone who terribly under prices items as someone who overprices or even by someone trying to sell something that no one anywhere (at least in this country) would want, such as used shoe insoles. Curious about what she though the prices should be, I later examine both Amazon and Half-Bay for this same title. Amazon has the book for 98 cents and Half Bay, whom she said was selling books for $5 has this title for $1.01. Oh the delusions of those who buy overpriced in-town housing.
On Cresthill I buy nothing.
St. Augustine Ave- Virginia Highlands
Fleeing Va-Hi and the delusional prices of Morningside, I stop at this sale being held by a local photographer. She is selling a lot of matted prints of her work but most buyers are not even looking at them. Among the items of interests are a audio book by Zsa Zsa Gabor, a component 8 track player, women’s clothing some old LPs that she said came from the attic (I guess that where people keep LPs now) some include “Tubular Bells” and “Isaac Hayes live at the Sahara, Tahoe” There are also three caller ID devices.
I buy nothing
At the end of the day I have purchased nothing. But I do go to the Home Depot and buy some chicken wire for to protect the fish pond. After that I go to the adjoining Petsmart (isn’t it great to now have suburban shopping centers in-town) and buy five new fish for only 24 cent each.