I love yard sales. I love the beginning of yard sale season. Like yachting, all the cheerful colored signs bobbing along on the horizon. Other people’s stuff.
I love yard sales the way I love eavesdropping, a guilty pleasure a search for rare treasure, a treat a retreat a brief moment away from my own life and into yours.
I love yard sales, the free box, the sticky lemonade and the 11-year-olds who wistfully offer me some for a quarter. I love the bad portraits of your mother’s cousin Jean, the macrame holders still tightly wrapped around 2 liter coke bottles, with leggy spider plants hoarily clinging to that crafty harvest gold past.
I love yard sales and talking to strangers, agreeing on the dangers of overpricing, underpricing, bad weather and early morning poachers. I love finding out that my girlfriend dated your son back in high school, I feel so local, and that he’s married now with two kids but having problems and then changing the subject.
I love yard sales and looking at other people’s decorative choices. The red walls with blue accents, the rock garden, the swoopy window treatments, kitchen appliance excesses, the incredibly organized and labeled garages of you not me. The beaten and smirched record of your children’s discarded toys, your baby’s first velvet dress with the little matching mittens.
I love yard sales and the over and under valueing we all do of our stuff and our stories, the unexpectedly good artwork inexplicably stuck in the workshop behind the arc welder and the broken rakes. I love the costume jewelry, the plastics and resins, the hand-blown glass beads and the tarnished milagros. I love rummaging for change, the good faith willingness to hold your perfect estante rústico until this afternoon when I can come back in the red truck with some muscle and moving straps.
I love yard sales, the lumpy old dogs, the ladies in sequined sweatshirts, the avon bottles shaped like ships and trains, the huddled men comparing tools and two-stroke engines. I love getting home with yard sale amnesia. Unwrapping the little packages in anticipation, I become my own secret Santa, pleased and surprised at the silliness in which your past becomes my present, rubbed clean and new and ready for whatever comes next.