Tomorrow our neighborhood holds a twice-yearly garage sale, and we’re participating.
Yes, we need to get rid of a lot of excess baggage before our overseas move. Yes, garage sales are a way to do that.
But I really, truly detest garage sales. I don’t like going to them and pawing through other people’s discarded stuff, and I don’t like having the vultures paw through the tail ends of my life either. I don’t like the time I have to spend organizing and preparing, or trying to figure out what my things are worth to somebody else.
Despite my very public web presence, I’m really a private sort of person. And a garage sale provides such an intimate glimpse into the person or family. By poking through their sale offerings, you can find out what they read and think, the size clothes they really wear, what they cook. You can even find clues as to how well they function as a family.
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I don’t even try to sell used clothing at a garage sale any more. I just bundle it up and take it to Goodwill.
I’m an avid reader, and books are my friends and companions. There are some I read once and pass along, others I come back to again and again, like spending time with an old and valued friend. It’s like a dagger through the heart to see one of these favorites disrespectfully tossed aside by someone who’s only interested in the latest Harlequin romance or uber-violent thriller.
And that oversized casserole dish I no longer need because my family of seven is now a family of two? Just because it’s too big for my present needs, I don’t want to hear some stranger making slighting comments about it. Don’t they know how many tuna-noodle casseroles, homemade macaroni and cheese, scalloped potatoes and other dishes were lovingly served up to my family in that dish? Don’t they care that it has a history, these bargain-hunting strangers?
No, they don’t.
Garage sales give total strangers license to examine my life without caring a single bit about it. And I suppose that’s really why I hate them.