On Saturday 10 November I had a stall at the community garage sale in Squatters Rights Square in Cobargo.
The gnomes who have been holding the space on behalf of the community have been freshly painted.
The little tin tricycle that supports the ‘squatters rights ‘sign gave an old lady an excuse to tell me a story about the same trike that she had as a child and passed on to the next four generations. Now it sits in her garden supporting a pot plant.
I didn’t get very far when I left the house around 7.30, a large tree had fallen in the night and laid tangled in vines across the track. I had to walk back and enlist the family. John cut the trunk up into sections which Greg and Jess hauled off the road.
Next seasons firewood. I snipped at the vines releasing them from the branches and went on my way.
There were surprisingly few stalls when I pulled into the co-op car park but already an air of market trading prevailed.
The sun had returned hot into a clear field of cobalt blue after a week of rain grey and cloud.
I unpacked the card table and set up in between Linda selling off her life since the death of her partner Alan and two of the Gosch girls behind a table laden with bric a brac.
I laid out my big pile of New Internationalist magazines, a few read novels, a set of blue cups and saucers that Ro no longer wanted and neither did I, a few of Kingston’s toys and books that were no longer essential plus a couple of aluminum baking trays and a grater.
I had already chosen my theme ‘everything half price’ not that anything was priced , it was probably all give away.
John just shook his head when I told him.
I went over to the girls next to me and found two cups I fancied . How much I asked ?
The older girl looked at me coolly and said how much do you want to pay?
ouch, that’s usually my line and it ‘s not so good hearing it from over here.
how about $1 for both of them?.
This met with approval and the younger girl accepted the money .
Back at my stall I encouraged everyone to take a magazine home with them . What the hell am I supposed to do with them? Well Thumbed Books has refused them, maybe the high school will want them , suggested Linda.
The youngest Gosch girl sidled over and picked up the gaudy rabbit with the yellow floppy ears and asked how much?.
You can have it, I said. She quietly turned it over in her hands and privately I am thinking that she is a weeny bit old for it.
But how much would you sell it for?.
Well, if I was going to sell it and not give it away I would charge fifty cents. She slides the zip open on her purse. Are you sure you can’t just take it,? I ask. A tiny shake of the head and she hands over 50 cent.
The three year old that was interested in the maccas tractor was easy . I just pressed it and another plastic car in his fists and he wandered off happy . he would have taken them anyway and this way he wasn’t stealing.
A lot of people seem taken aback to be offered something for nothing and I had to listen to all manner of excuses why they couldn’t help me out. Even when I brought out the big guns of landfill they were able to desist.
I have so much to read at the moment some said, well they won’t go off, I replied.
Bec turned up and zoomed in on the grater. She had spotted it in my t’o sell pile’ at home the other day and said she wanted it. You will have to wait for the market, I said ,it is an integral part of my merchandise.
I browsed thru the other stalls buying so much that my car filled up. A vinyl red chair that used to live at Linda’s grandparents house in Bondi Beach has taken up most of my boot and back seat, the other red chair went into Jess and Greg’s boot. Linda’s grandmother lived to 106 so I figured these chairs have good juju.
Then there was a sweet little blue jacket from Doris who bought it in Singapore and gave it to me for $3, a collapsible stepping stool for Kingston at $2 and the black over the shoulder leather bag so perfect for back of the bike another $2.
What could I do? They were bargains.
oh god shoot me ,all this after I have waxed lyrical about hoarding and my mothers predilection towards it, here I am, unable to resist.
I give myself a little pep talk quietly in my head but I have to say lest I have led anyone astray that I am a whizz at cleaning up at garage sales.
thank the lord they only happen here in the main street every six weeks.
a friend who I hadn’t seen for a long time gathered up about 10 or so magazines and tried to give me money .
just take them .
the argument continued until I ignored her and she wandered away with a threat to me along the lines that she will do same to me when she has a stall next.
oh dear what am I getting myself into?.
why? asked some one else, why free?
because, I say ,
it is an act of rebellion, a scoff in the face of the money world and a shake up of our expectations.
Of course the real reason is that I want to have fun and can’t come up with anything to sell..