Remember Pavlov’s slobbering dogs? That’s me when I see a sign that says “YARD SALE”. I can spot a square of cardboard nailed to a street sign with rifle-scope precision.
The sign is scribbled in red marker. 112384 South Westway Northern Circle Drive. It points to a subdivision larger than my hometown. HA! That doesn’t scare me. I know there is a yard sale somewhere in this suburban spider web. And, the sign says, “FOLLOW SIGNS”.
I know wind can change left-pointing arrows to right-pointing. Rain swells cardboard words into soggy hieroglyphics. And sometimes, duct tape adhesion fails. But I’m never discouraged. I have a special radar that bleeps in my head, races down my arms and directs my sweaty fists on the wheel. It’s a gift.
And if I would happen to get lost, I can just follow the caravan of other “salers” whipping from block to block. They circle like a band of marauding Indians, ready to round up the goods. And they are not my friends. They are the enemy.
There’s nothing worse than pulling up at a sale and seeing THAT PERFECT THING cradled in an opposing saler’s arms like an only child. I watched a Barbie Dream House (with accessories!) drive away in 1977. It was only $5. I’ve never gotten over it.
I spot a sale ahead and whip toward the bowling balls, glass vases, and fat TVs. It’s doesn’t matter if it’s a one-way street. Or if there’s a “Slow, Children at Play” sign. Outta my way, kids.
All along the street, cars block driveways, smash lawns and jump curbs in Demolition Derby frenzy. Mail boxes are blocked. Sorry. No delivery today.
When I get out of my car, I act calm. It’s best to stroll toward the sale with attitude and project this image:
“I don’t usually buy USED things, but I just HAPPENED to be driving past and thought I would stop and take a peek. I DOUBT if I’ll see anything I want to purchase. But I’ll have a quick look-see.”
My eyes take on the capability of a wide-angle camera lens as I near the garage. I determine the best area to scavenge first. Usually, I start with doo-dads. Clothes and books can wait: they eat up precious hunting time.
For the complete article, see this week’s edition of the Centralia Fireside Guard.