From Tue Sep 29 05:25:59 1998

Newsgroups: alt.slack

Subject: The Vision of Tarla Star

From: (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."

--Dante Alighieri


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