Dagmar called me Friday and asked, “Do you want to sell your golf clubs?”
“My golf clubs are a collection of failed titanium dreams and but they are something I love. Don’t you dare touch them, they are sacred to me,” I replied in a panic.
She asked this question because she was cleaning out the house in order to participate in a community yard-sale. This yard sale is in Germany, on the economy, and she’s doing it because she hates weekends.
If you’re unfamiliar with Germany let me lay it out for you. Its got rain, cold, snow, cold, more rain, occasional hail, sleet, rain and cold. Basically, the weather in Germany is attempting to destroy your soul for 10 months of the year. So, when there is sunshine and warm weather I want to be on the beach soaking up sunlight and drinking beer.
For the love of all things sane, I don’t want spend those precious days selling crap at a yard sale.
Dagmar disagrees because she’s insane.
She heard about the yard sale during her furlough day from a mutual friend who I plan to kill soon for that indiscretion. I knew from the moment she called me with the “suggestion” about the yard sale that I was “husband fucked” and that I was indeed going to have to do it. Any plans I had otherwise for the weekend were destroyed the minute our mutual friend said to my wife, “You know they’re having a community yard sale this weekend?”
We’ve only had one other yard sale in our lives together and that was in the states in the late ’90s. During the brief time I was left alone during that yard sale a person asked me if I was willing to sell something for $5. Dagmar had marked it as $10. I told the man, “Dude if you don’t buy that I’m literally going to throw it away.” Never tell a yard-sale person this because, yeah I ended up giving it to him for free. Don’t tell Dagmar.
Fast forward to last Saturday. I resigned myself to my fate, what else can you do? She trolled the house for salable crap we owned and Saturday morning at the ungodly hour of 6:30 am, I loaded up the car and off we went into whack job land because German community yard sales are insane.
When we arrived we were accosted by several people of questionable sanity/nationality asking us in broken English, “Do you have gold, do you have computer, do you have shoes?”
This was moments after we arrived and we were just getting out of the car. I hadn’t even had coffee yet. I was confused and annoyed at the same time, I was confannoyed, which is something I just now made up!
These people I was later told are “resellers.” And fuck them, they’re annoying.
The next surprise, at the lovely hour of 7 a.m. on a Saturday morning, was that the organizers were completely baffled by the fact that a parking lot next to a hotel had mysteriously been filled with cars, during the night! I should point out that this community yard sale was organized by Americans on a part of an American installation in Germany open to everyone. Anyone can, and apparently does, drive and park in the area. So despite the best efforts of seven parking cones, the “plan for the setting up of tables” had been thwarted.
If you haven’t already gathered, Germans don’t just chuck their used shit on their driveway and call it a yard sale. No they do it as a community, which makes sense if you think about it. More sellers mean more buyers, or something. I’ve never really thought about yard sales but that’s the basic idea, I think.
But a yard sale of that scale has to be organized, I mean fuck, we’re in Germany after all. They’d organize chaos if they could and I think just have.
So entering into the yard sale area we approach the American organizer and discover he’s an idiot. Maybe idiot is too strong a word. He has the lot planned out, with space for all the participants but the cars have really fucked his plan. This is when I learn that yard sale people are really, really picky about their spots. See you had to sign up for a spot at this yard sale. For the low cost of $20 you get a spot and a table, not a bad deal. Only some people, as I said, are really fucking picky about their spots.
“I paid for these two spots, right near the entrance!” and “I paid for this spot because …” I tried to zone these insane yard sale monsters out.
“Look Mr. Yard Sale manager, I paid for this spot and could give a shit less. Just shove me in somewhere so I can unload my filthy bunch of crap and make a step toward ending this day,” I told him. With a sympathetic sigh he shoved us in a corner and went back to dealing with the monsters.
Once the crap was unloaded and set up on our rented table Dagmar, thankfully not me, dealt with a crowd. I’d already had enough.
This particular yard sale attracted early shoppers that want shit for free, as in “Can I have this for free?” If I had my druthers, I would have weighed the “pain in the ass of having to cart that item unsold back to my house,” against the fact that, “I hated being up and out of the house at 7 a.m. on a Saturday,” against the fact that we “hadn’t used this particular piece of shit in years,” and concluded that if I just gave it all away I could be home in approximately 45 minutes.
Dagmar, not so much.
As the day progressed I was given attitude-adjustment medication in the form of beer. She knows me so well.
I also made an important discovery about my bride — she was a fucking third-world merchant in a previous life.
“Have a look at these purses ma’am,” she squawked at a passerby as I sunk into my folding chair and tried to hide. The purse she was hawking was hideous. I think someone who grew up in El Paso spent a little too much time at the markets in Juarez, is all I mean.
As the day wore painfully on, the crowd thinned and I broke out the kindle. I was reading something deep that, for me at least, took a bit of concentration. I had to read a sentence, think it through and then move on. Dagmar had nothing to read. Do you see where this is going? Yeah it was all: Read the sentence, Dagmar asks a mundane question, read the same sentence again, Dagmar asks another mundane question, read the same sentence again … you get the point.
All said she made $380 bucks. I would have gladly paid $380 to not have to make $380 bucks, but she’s awfully proud of the $380 bucks and I guess that’s what matters at the end of the day.