(I'm doing a re-post of garage sale pieces; this one is from 2004. Garage sales are endlessly fascinating!)
The theme at garage sales this weekend was pedestal sinks, Carly Simon records and men's ties. I find it uncanny, this fact of a theme. Is anyone 'studying' garage sales? They are worthy of being studied. So many facets to them; it isn't just about acquisition, not at all. But exploring these fascinating tangents is for another column, for observation. Today I am a full participant.
"Looking for anything in particular?" asked the seller as I sauntered happily through the offerings.
"Anything to do with home and garden," I replied.
"Should be somehing," he nodded at the goods and left me alone. Which suited me far more than the person who accompanies me around their sale pointing out that here is a frying pan, hardly used, and do I need some pink bobbled bathroom curains with matching rings for the shower curtain but no shower curtain and what size shoes do I wear......
The very shiny set of stainless steel bowls held my attention and the seller came back to my side. "They're in good condition," he said, a bit hesitantly, likely puzzled as to why I had lined them up upside down and was staring at their bottoms.
"I was considering their mirror qualities," I told him and, when he looked interested, I continued, "I've got two smooth hubcaps hanging on the fence in my garden and they reflect the plants in a curved way so I thought to repeat this in another area of my yard."
He didn't say anything and wandered away. The bowls weren't quite right so I turned them over and re-nested them. Then I picked up an old fashioned egg beater.
"Going to aerate a pond?" he called over to me and I laughed and said beating eggs was more what I had in mind. But he was obviously more receptive than rejective of this adventure of looking at things from a different perspective.
He pointed at two plastic lawn chairs, green originally, weathered wonderfully. "Guess you could paint those," he suggested.
"Could," I said, but I knew I wouldn't. Old plastic takes on its own 'patina' which I quite like. "What could be done with these is to put them like this - ", I put them together, one facing forward, one back; they weren't of the design that lends itself to this perfectly but close enough to show what I meant - "and tied together here and here and here with nautical rope, they become a conversation seat for two. I think the Victorians favoured them."
I sat in one and another woman at the garage sale came and sat in the other and we smiled at each other.
"I'll take them if you don't," she said. "I have a place outdoors where there are two views and I can never decide which way to face. This will solve that."
"How much?" she asked the man and for a moment he looked as if this new use for the chairs had just escalated the price but thought better of it as we both stared at him and he sold them for a reasonable amount. Couple of dollars.
That was on Saturday. Artists seem to hold their sales on Sunday. Fabric billowing out of the FREE BOX (almost de rigueur at sales nowadays)had my immediate attention. It was a flowing white evening dress with a rainbow of paint circles cascading down the front. There had to be a story. There was.....
"I was hosting an art show several years ago where the paintings were to be destroyed as part of the event," the woman holding the sale told me. "I think it was called The Eve of Destruction. The public could donate money for a piece not to be destroyed." She looked thoughtful and then smiled at a memory. "I made a fair amount of money over my paintings that night."
"Wearing that dress?" I asked.
"Wearing that dress." she replied.
No, I didn't take the dress. I 'took' her story instead.