by Betty Mermelstein
for these events is unacceptable: your wedding,
that 7:30 am outpatient surgery, your turn to
read at the early church service, and that thorn
in my side: the garage sale.
I awoke to the
sounds of an unusual amount of traffic for our
neighborhood. In my sleepy haze I thought it
must be garbage day and cursed my snoring husband
for forgetting to put out the barrel. When I
distinguished cries of Good morning!,
How much?, Can I leave my dog
with you while I get the truck?, I
flew out of bed and threw on some clothes.
minutes I was in front of my garage, having
dragged out the last ten years worth of my
and my unsuspecting sons lives. They
would never miss those pungent ice hockey gloves.
My husband didnt count. I figured
whats his is mine and whats mine is
mine when it came to garage sale profit.
noticed that the cars were now stopping in front
of my garage. Must be the white plastic
étagère, I thought. Always an eye
examining my goods left and right.
for the curtains?
sets? Two dollars.
She handed me
a dollar and swept up the curtains.
thanks! I cheerfully agreed.
encircled the air with her hand over a bunch of
those for a dollar, I smiled.
out a quarter toward me.
thanks. I said less assuredly.
A boy started
carrying a load of board games to a car.
to pay for those, you know, I called from
my folding chair.
A man the size
of Texas hefted his bulk out of the car that the
little boy was heading toward.
you think we are, thieves? he snarled. How
quarter will be fine, I stammered. I
know your son will enjoy them.
that the ugliest thing youve ever seen?
a lady chuckled as she held aloft my first
attempt at the Ceramics Is In My Blood store.
a conversation piece, I murmured between
clenched teeth. Its yours for a
give you ten cents for it, she sniffed. The
transaction was done.
you want for the bike? a man asked as he
bent over the tireless frame, examining each
I told him.
a lot of parts missing for $10, he whined.
tires are gone, I said firmly.
He shook his
head and walked away. A woman in his car
shouted staccato orders and he returned,
reluctantly taking the former $700 bike with no
tires for $10.
as the last car drove away I felt a sense of
pride. I was the vendeuse, the market merchant
hawking her wares, the entrepreneur with her
garage front store. I clasped my $35 profit
and surveyed my driveway, wondering what I was
going to do with that plastic étagère.