Yard Sale

The smell of a baker’s dozen of chocolate bagels hangs in the cabin of the Sienna. It is 8:40 am on Saturday morning. I am out with my buddy, cruising. If we find something to extend the trip back from Brueggers, then Susie will have more peace.

And there it is…a yard filled with junk.

“John” I say,”this is called a garage sale. Or, in some cases, a tag sale. It is where people sell stuff for nothing. Don’t touch.”

The sale fronts a smallish brick ranch. I can see crock pots, golf clubs, records, books, latin american weavings, Yankee candles.

“Are you the host-ess?” I ask. “How much are cd’s?”

“They are a quarter,” she says. She appears to be about my age. All of her junk is here, but I can’t make any demographic analyses. Lots of books about sermons, but then it is too disparate after that: Etonic golf spikes?

“We just want to keep it from the landfill,” she adds.

I think, how nice. I think Dick Cheney would say that you have a wonderful ethic there.

I see that she will not be offering me “grandfather’s mysterious German travel camera” with the Zeiss lens.

But the compact discs are a bargain. Behold, not just any songs, but the ones that bring back high school in full technicolor. My parents sent me to one fancy prep school, but it didn’t help to change the music that I heard while I was there.

“Rock’N the 80s, eh?” I say, giving her a glance that suggests that I too share her guilty pleasure.

She is a quick one, too, because she knows that acquisition of an 80s disc, or mere possession, could need an explanation among strangers.

“We get XM Radio,” she says, “you know?”

I do know. But for now, I leave her to explain. Let her twist in the wind. I had XM for a week last month in California. It was great. All the baseball that I wanted to hear. Plus, times for bluegrass. I succumbed to the 80s channel at the end of a long day of talking/shooting/talking.

But she doesn’t need to say anymore. I know she knows. I know she knows about so much else, too. 80s music, before it all happened.

It would be too much, but I know that:

She remembered when Coke Classic was not, and when New Coke was.
She watched music videos
She wore “leggings” and wanted to look like Cyndi Lauper
Her husband probably has one of those thin shiny ties. Also one of those square woven jobs.

The cd collection tells more of her narrative. Right next to it are some of the things that came next. I’d say what came next was better, too. We were the same people, but the world let us grow up.

There’s Tracy Chapman. The whole UnPlugged Genre that is represented here by 10,000 Maniacs and Eric Clapton.

So I also know that:

She knows what ACT UP stands for.
She remembers PETA

She thought Clinton was a little to the right.

We got a lot of stuff. But all of those days carrying shoes from Payless and not eating for Oxfam, where did that go?
Its time to go. I have her music now. She’s got my five bucks.


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