From firstname.lastname@example.org Tue Sep 29 05:25:59 1998
Subject: The Vision of Tarla Star
From: email@example.com (TarlaStar)
Date: Tue, 29 Sep 1998 13:25:59 GMT
"In the midway of this our mortal life,
I found me in a gloomy wood, astray,
Gone from the path direct: and e'en to tell,
It were no easy task, how savage wild
That forest how robust and rough its growth
Which to remember only my dismay
Renews in bitterness not far from death.
Yet to discourse of what there good befel,
All else will I relate discover'd there."
If you wish to see what hell is like before shuffling off this mortal
coil, I would suggest holding a yard sale. Imagine that you have lived
in the same place for ten years. Now imagine that you have many many
pets and hobbies. Now imagine that in addition to those pets and
hobbies, you also have children and a tendency to save shit. Finally
imagine that in three months everything you own must fit into a
10'x10'x8' space. Suddenly, a yard sale seems so....reasonable.
It's seductive; the idea that your old shit can not only be gotten rid
of by other folks but that they will also give you money for it. What
most people forget is the work that goes into having one of these
things and what assholes people can be when they come to one.
For several weeks before the sale I packed and went through drawers
and cabinets. It was like going back in time. I saw with utter clarity
the horrors of my Tupperware phase, remembering with chagrin the fact
that I actually attended the Tupperware party of a woman who was
sleeping with my husband (of that time) blissfully ignorant of their
treachery. I sold a cake holder that my ex had paid $15 for
originally, for a nickle. It made both me and the lady who bought the
damned thing smile.
I found dozens of drawings that my sons had made when they were
little, homemade mother's day cards, and other sentimental crap that
mothers tend to keep. I found my old high school varsity letter, and
realized that I hadn't thought about that damned thing in years. It
surprised me since it was something I really valued quietly for much
of my adult life. I don't know why. Perhaps because it was the first
thing that I really wanted that I deliberately set my sights for and
achieved. Up til then I had achieved out of a combination of fear and
need for praise.
I mourned over giving up some of my "things." Some were presents from
the Bearded Guy. Some were things I'd had since childhood, like my
dresser. Overall though, it was like giving my house a much needed
I called the OKC newspaper on Tues. and ran an ad for three days.
Since I'm being very careful these days, I also went down to the city
offices and got a yardsale permit. Friday morning, I drank my coffee
and read my newsgroups as usual. At 8:30, I started working, carrying
out boxes of stuff; clearing off some tables that I use in the studio
and carrying them outside to load up with sale items, etc. All day I
carried, packed, unpacked, set up. At 3pm I forced myself to sit down
for exactly one hour and eat some ramen and drink mass quantities of
water. I was in robotic mode.
The Bearded Guy got home at 5:30 and started helping me. We worked
pretty steadily until I had to take the teenboy to work. When I got
back, Sr. Testicler had shown up and was prepared to help me as long
as necessary providing the proper amounts of attitude adjustment could
be found. When her beer and frap levels had been corrected, we set to
work. At 7:45 June and Penny showed up to help as well. I set the
three of them to marking prices on everything while TBG and I
continued to empty the house.
June and Penny left at 10 pm. Sr. T. TBG and I sat around like dazed
lumps of something dazed and lumpy. At 11pm, we broiled a steak and
heated up some beans and ate dinner. I stumbled off to bed soon
At 6 am I woke up and had coffee. I hadn't bathed from the night
before. I considered a shower, but figured it was going to be another
95 degree day with 85% humidity and that I was going to be as stinky
as I could be, shower or not, within an hour or two anyway, so I
passed on the shower and just wiped on another coat of deodorant. I
wandered outside. It was still dark. TBG went down to the corner to
put up a sign directing folk to our abode.
By the time he got back, I had two customers. It seems that yard sales
are the geriatric version of Mr. Goodbar. By 7:30, the lawn was
littered with geezers. This is good. Geezers know a bargain and
believe me, there were plenty of bargains. I sold a few hundred
dollars worth of stuff in the first hour or so.
It slowed down considerably after 10 am but close to noon, a woman
dropped by and bought the Bearded Guy's kegging system and cooler and
she didn't even try to haggle, so we had a few beers with her, talked
about mead a bit, gave her some mead, got her fairly tipsy and sent
her on her way home to her hubby with a half dozen cornelius kegs (two
of which contained beer), a small CO2 tank, and a refrigerated
cooler. She was fun. She looked like someone was home in her head. She
had this flash of a smile that was surprisingly sexy.
On the other hand, there was Linda. She's someone I barely know in
passing from the brewclub. She's decided to attach herself to me for
some reason. I hate that. *I* do the attaching. Anyway, she showed up
to get some tigerlily bulbs that I promised to give her and ended up
buying a shitload of my stuff. However, I was forced to spend endless
hours in her company for this boon. She asked if she could pay for her
stuff in payments. I, just wanting to get rid of most of the shit she
took, agreed. She finally left and I sighed deeply in relief. I was
tired of hearing about her tumors and her wicked stepdaughters and
their evil bitch of a mother. She's sitting there next to me with a
gut full of tumors admonishing me for eating a burger. I thought,
"yeah bitch, I can see what being a vegetarian has done for YOU."
Instead I said, "These are Braum's burgers. All their beef comes from
volunteers." I was so tired though, that I could only eat a couple of
The sale was scheduled to run from 7am to 7pm. At 5:30 I told TBG that
it would probably take us until closing to bring in and organize what
was left. We'd sold about 2/3 of what we put out. In the last hour, a
few friends showed up and we opened a bottle of champagne. Damn if
Linda didn't come back. Since she brought me some money, I let her
stay and even gave her some champagne. At 7, we told everyone to go
home and we went inside.
A few glasses of champagne on a pretty empty stomach combined with
tiredness almost put me to sleep in the shower. Somehow, I retained
consciousness long enough to pull on a dress and stumble out to the
car. TBG drove us to Ozzies diner. It was 8 and they close at 9. We
were the only customers in the place. That suited me fine. I ordered a
rootbeer float and the "Blast from the Past" (roast beef on toast and
brown gravy over mashed potatoes with a salad on the side.) It's my
favorite comfort food and I could only eat about ten bites. I was
falling asleep at the table. I overtipped the waitress and we left.
I dragged my body upstairs by sheer force of will and the desire to
not sleep on the floor. I stripped down and fell onto the bed. At 3 am
I woke up. My period had started. The coup de gras.
When I counted up the sales Sunday morning (before returning to Ozzies
for breakfast) I was amazed to discover that we'd sold over $1000
worth of shit the day before. I don't know what that works out to in
hourly wages but the raw materials cost me alot more than that.
I think the strangest thing about a yard sale is the fact that you are
so exposed to strangers. They see all your stuff. They see what shit
you buy and basically see the inside of your house without having to
go through the gauntlet of friendship. They can read the inscriptions
in your books and know you a little without having to share
themselves. It's like volunteering for voyeurs. Not only that, but
they can HAVE your stuff for a few pennies on the dollar of what it
cost you. For someone like me, who won't let anyone in my house that I
don't consider a friend, it is excruciating.
Sunday evening we'd recovered somewhat and were sitting on the front
porch watching the evening arrive. The house was much roomier albeit
in complete chaos. We got rid of a bunch of shit and learned a lot.
Life goes on and we found our Slack in the quiet time once more.
Things are just things. We need to get really tired to appreciate just
feeling normal. Crickets continue to sing the world to sleep, dew
gathers, animals couple and then drift into sleep.
"My guide and I did enter, to return
To the fair world: and heedless of repose
We climb'd, he first, I following his steps,
Till on our view the beautiful lights of Heaven
Dawn'd through a circular opening in the cave:
Thence issuing we again beheld the stars."-- D.A.
"Dammit, Jeb, I'm as Amish as the next fellow, but if we don't
take out that sub, there'll be no Pennsylvania to go home TO!"
--my son, Eric