It’s garage sale season and mine definitely needs to be cleared. The other day, my mother– garage sale queen that she is– took one look at the mountain of junk piled up where our cars should be, and declared it was time to have a sale.
On a closet cleaning frenzy since January, I’ve been hauling trunk loads of miscellaneous donations to the local Goodwill so often they know me by name. Unfortunately some of my stuff has also ended up sidelined to the garage– either because it doesn’t actually belong to me (long story), or it’s too big to fit in my Toyota. I’m more than ready to free up some space. I’ve been waiting for an empty nest for years. Not happening. I dream of the day I can do what my neighbors do all winter long during a pouring rain. I’ll pull into my driveway, hit the garage door button on my windshield visor, and it will pop open just in time for me to glide in. Then I’ll enter my home dry. I will not have to detour around rain puddles towards the front door. I will not worry about or books or groceries getting wet. Pine sap will not be dripping on my car. There will be no kitty prints on my windshield in the morning. Best of all, when it’s icy, I will not be concerned about slipping in high heels. AND I won’t have to scrape my windshield when it snows! Years ago, parking in the garage was an option. I’ve done it before, I can do it again by gum!
When mom offered to help, I figured it would be crazy to turn her down. Only mom can understand why I’ve kept the plastic Chippewa doll I bought with my allowance money during a family vacation back in 1964. So of course I took her up on the garage sale offer. Now I’ve given everyone else an ultimatum. Either you take it if you want it, or I’m selling. I’m ridding my nest of inessential rubbish. (Chippewa doll stays.) By September first, the garage will be empty — until I park my car. Yes I’m serious, the car will be parked INSIDE the garage. I know some of you are thinking this will be a magnificent feat of endurance worthy of an Olympic Gold medal. Maybe I am aiming too high. But that’s the goal. And that’s why the past few days, I’ve been cleaning, organizing and pricing at a wild pace.
But the hard part is yet to come. Most of us who can’t hear well have a fear of new voices, new lips, and accents. I am no different. Last time I had a garage sale was fifteen years ago. What I remember was hoards of strange new lips asking questions. “Does this work?. . .How old is this?. . .Does it have batteries?. . .Will you take $3.00?. . .Is that bbq for sale?”
And there were those who wanted to make conversation. . .”I collect games for my grandkids. . .do you have. . .Hey! I bought one of these back in . . .OH! Steely Dan, I can’t believe this . . . Do you remember?. . .Back in 1972, when I was in the army. . .”
Or just the usual small talk, “How many customers have you had today?” I dreaded every minute of it, which is the reason I haven’t had another garage sale in fifteen years. — and also why my garage is so full of crap.
This time things will be different. I’m way more comfortable in my deaf skin. Last time, I bluffed my way through three agonizing days of lip reading hell. And I badly bungled some deals. In fact, towards the end I completely broke with garage sale etiquette by refusing to negotiate at all, which eventually led to garage sale death. I had to haul stuff away. People in the neighborhood glared at me suspiciously for years after that. I knew they were whispering behind my back, “SHE’S the one who wouldn’t take $3.00 for a that old chipped table, AND her wrinkled paperbacks were priced at fifty cents! Don’t go there. . .waste of time. . .” I knew if I had another garage sale, no one would come.
However, as luck would have it most of my old neighbors have been replaced by new neighbors who don’t remember my garage sale debacle fifteen years ago. This time, I vow to wear my pocket talker. It may not help, but it’s a clear visual reminder of my hearing situation. I’ll also be wearing a “please face me” button, and my ASL cap. Each time I don’t understand someone, I will tell them, “I cannot hear very well, please look at me when you speak.” There will be people with beards covering their lips, people who chew gum, self-conscious people who hold their hands in front of their mouths, and people with accents. I will ask them to write their offers or questions when their lips are unreadable. Who knows? I might even throw in my old VCO or some other outdated hearing paraphernalia like my first caption decoder. That should be a conversation piece. . .
Everything MUST go. Make me an offer.