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Garage Sale

At 6:30 a.m. Friday, someone was already waiting for us to expose our wares, ready or not. "How much for this top and skirt set, honey?" she asked me fairly patiently as I click-clacked around the garage in a hurry, sliding boxes and topping pricing markers with importance; I had to get to work; I had to feed the kids breakfast; I had to make their lunches; I had to .. to.. . DO... LOTS. OF. important... THINGS. I was busy. "Three dollars. ?" I blurted as if under undue pressure, and then left the rest to John, who was relaxed, detached, and as a result actually accomplishing tasks while I was filling the garage with unproductive, invaluable tension. By 7:00 a.m., the kids' lunch was half-made, their breakfast half-eaten, my earrings half-on, and my shoes still click-clacking with false, forced authority all over the wood floors, the tile floors, the beautiful expensive flooring in the house we're indebted to for generations, the house 50 successful garage sales still couldn't afford, the house we love, but probably shouldn't have bought, the house we will stay in until we've resolved all the other poor choices, and learned all the other late "life lessons".

John braved the constant traffic and occasional haggling with "customers" on Friday, with virtually no comments, other than how much we made by selling junk to others. Saturday morning it was my turn, and I had to get over myself and my irrational fear of the unknown, and the fact that it's also irrational that the "unknown" includes allowing unfamiliar people onto my driveway (how horrifyingly anti-social for someone who considers herself "open" and "liberal"), let alone INTO MY GARAGE, only *feet* from a portal into my home, the home with the mess and dysfunction and reality I have yet to "manage" in any acceptable way, despite my criticisms and my know-it-all, have-a-response attitude about everything until I screw up and see how hard it all is, and how we're all just a bunch of snot-nosed kids when it really comes down to it. But having that realization around my mounds of dirty clothes and pet hair isn't necessary, is it? Even though a lot of the dirty clothes were carried downstairs by my kids at my request with pretty decent attitudes, and the pet hair comes from two of the most peaceful, family-oriented creatures on earth? Yeah, still. Not necessary. Because the peace is always the after-math realization I have. I look BACK and go, wow, the kids are really basically sweet. I shouldn't yell so much. SIGH. Wow, the animals are so amazing and low maintenance. I should appreciate their part in the family more. SIGH.

But I digress. By Saturday morning, it was my turn. After shoving down any remaining human emotion I might have about allowing others near my territory or whatever nonsense instinctively rules my brain, I parked myself in the garage and forced friendly "HI"s to come out of my mouth. I answered people's questions. I negotiated prices. I even had conversations that I was disappointed, YES, DISAPPOINTED to end. People were full of information for me: they'd had a garage sale last week and now here they were buying more stuff, ha, hahaha, ha, ha; they were stopping by on behalf of their aging parents who loved garage sales, did that TV work?, no they didn't want me to plug it in, nevermind; why are you selling the Wii Fit?, did you not like it, oh, you didn't use it to get in shape like you thought you would, yep, they understood that, ha, hahaha, ha, ha; would I take fifty cents for these two toys marked fifty cents each?; how about a dollar for the already priced to sell three-dollar DVDs? When the customer who asked the last question literally STUFFED HER WALLET -- WITH PANACHE -- INTO HER BRA EIGHT INCHES FROM MY FACE AFTER HANDING ME A DOLLAR AND WAITING FOR TWO QUARTERS BACK, I wished I'd studied Zen Buddhism. Or been blind. Or non-judgmental. Or somehow oblivious. But no; I am none of these.

I'm a broke, educated, white mother of two white males in the smack-dab-middle of the United States of America. I have a high paying job and lots of nice things, and I pay for my kids to go to a school that will teach them about a world that exists beyond their skewed, screwed-up house with two-car garage. I have no more hope of perspective or depth beyond what I can claim to pay for. Somehow the white trash bra-wallet lady seems to have something figured out here that I don't, much to my instinctual, consistent dismay.