Thursday, November 26, 2015

Putting the Stuff in Stuffing

Happy Thanksgiving. 

With the weather growing colder in Southeast New England as fall descends into winter, I'm seeing fewer signs stapled to utility poles for the ever popular weekend-consuming event: the tag sale, or yard sale, sometimes called a garage sale. I have another name for these, but my mom has asked me to NOT use it in case children are reading this (a child, is, technically, writing this, hers).

At certain times of year around here these are really popular, and are in your area, too, I suspect. I've never really gotten the attraction of rummaging through someone else's stuff, deciding if I like/need or want it, figuring out a price or haggling with the owner over the number on the tag and then taking the purchase home and making it part of my life. I have a very particular and defined sense of personal space. I don't like you in mine and I don't want to be in yours unless we're all stampeding for an exit during a fire drill. 

I don't think I've been to a yard sale, assuming I don't count the thought-it-was-a-stationary-bike bicycle I bought from Gayle and Eric across the street; but it wasn't a stationary bike, at all, as it turns out. Gayle had already left it at the curb for the trash pick-up and I gave her five dollars for it and then almost killed myself falling down the basement stairs when I put it away. 

It was at that moment, sprawled half under it and half over it, that I realized it wasn't what I thought it was and that I should have left well enough alone (and thereafter did). My whole involvement with the bike now consists of shouting "watch out for the bike!" to people heading down the indoor basement stairs. 

We have a house, probably like yours, filled with things we no longer use/need. Pieces of yourself and who you were but no longer are. Junk we didn't even realize we still have. I have shelves in the basement filled with items we got for the kids, way back when, some we bought for them when we all lived in Germany and we haven't done that for almost a quarter century. I'll never part with any of it. It takes a lot to get into my family and even more for me to let go. 

Each item has a story or a memory, even the stuff of which I have no recollection, maybe especially that stuff. George Carlin's observation never rang truer and while we may laugh at it, for the comedic directness and accuracy of its acerbic assertions, we always divide the world into ours and yours, and guess what we think of yours? Pass that leftover turkey sammich, willya?
-bill kenny

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