Several weeks ago, Jan Rankin and I decided to have a garage sale. Jan really wanted to be able to get more than half of a car in her two-car garage, and I needed to downsize my collection of black t-shirts. Like most ideas Jan and I have together, this one was 1) not very well thought out and 2) forgotten directly after we advertised it in the Moon. Mary “Scoop” Craft reminded us last Wednesday when she started talking about putting a garage sale in her briefs (business, not underpants). Cue immediate panic.
“OMG is that Friday already?!?” I shrieked.
“$#*T!” said Jan.
Since Jan and I have commitment issues (in that we should be committed for thinking that a garage sale was a good idea), we had decided to have the sale from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Good Friday. That was about all I could take alone. Jan insisted that she was going to hide in her house with a pick axe and a bottle of wine until all the interlopers were gone.
Thursday I hauled clothing out and optimistically priced it – carefully making tags on string and safety pinning them to the washing instructions. It took hours. About 3 p.m. I hauled my junk out to Jan’s with Stadler precariously perched atop the pile in the back seat like Granny Clampett. Pro-tip: doggie paw prints and fluff do not add to resale value even if the dog in question is “Island infamous.”
I met Jan at the Boathouse, and after a little lubricating chardonnay, we headed off to her garage to price Jan’s items and carve paths through our combined mountainous junk. The process took a couple more hours, largely due to dog interference. Finally, despite Stadler and Lizzy’s best efforts to send one or both of us to the emergency room, Jan and I forged a narrow path, making plans to haul the larger items out into the driveway in the morning.
“You’ll be here at 8:15, right?” Jan asked nervously.
“Yup. No Problem. We get up at 6:01,” I replied.
When I showed up at 8:45 the next morning, trucks, vans and cars lined Jan’s street. I (incorrectly) supposed that people were off work for Good Friday. A harried Jan answered her front door, and flagged us in, racing back to the garage.
“They’ve been here since 7:45 this morning! KNOCKING ON THE DOOR. They want in! I haven’t even had coffee. I’m skipping straight to wine.”
We were almost ready to open the big doors at 8:57. As I ran out to Boris (my car) to retrieve my forgotten notepad, I realized that the people crowding Jan’s driveway looked exactly like zombies from Night of the Living Dead.
“Jan, where’s your camera? We’ve got to get a picture of the garage sale zombies. It’s crazy out there. I think they might eat us!”
“Just let them in. They’re going to start knocking again!” Jan hollered, holding a Sharpie in front of her like a sword.
“They’re the undead, Jan. I swear. It’s some kind of garage sale induced apocalypse. We should probably run.”
“Ab, shut up,” said No Coffee Rankin and opened the doors.
As the garage sale zombies stormed through the slowly opening portals, not even waiting for the doors to rise all the way, Jan’s eyes opened wide and her jaw dropped in amazement.
“Holy….” Jan might have finished the cuss if a guy hadn’t stopped her by trying to maneuver a 20 bottle wine rack and a large table lamp in a path that can only be described as “through her spinal column.” Trapped in no man’s land, protected only by a stray end table from a pitched battle over a sheet set, I was no help.
The zombies made short work of Jan. Demands that she accept $4 for items priced at $50 drove her into the house quickly. I eventually managed to escape my end table prison by scaling the Matterhorn of Jan’s garage furniture.
The first horde dwindled after about an hour. Stadler sat outside with me, making new friends by sticking her nose directly into every stranger’s crotch. “Oh….isn’t she friendly” they would exclaim, while my dog minutely examined their no-no zones.
Jan hid inside, stress cleaning her house, and occasionally popping her head out, prairie dog style. Dale loaded up Lizzy and left in his truck, figuring it would be easier to sleep on the beach. Dale is pretty smart.
After hours of steady sales, traffic slowed to the point that Dr. Stadler fell asleep in the sun. I started selling all my junk for a dollar. It’s amazing how much you detach from your possessions when faced with hauling them back to your house.
At the end of the day, Jan emerged to help me close up shop.
“Well, how did it go?” she asked.
“You did great,” I replied, handing her a bank envelope bursting with cash.
“Well,” she said, “looks like I’m going to be paying for everything with one dollar bills for the next month. Dale’s going to think I’ve taken up stripping. How did you do?”
“Okay,” I replied.
I made $14, and I didn’t get eaten by zombies. I’m calling it a win.