Sunday, June 25, 2006

Filthy Lucre

It was a free-for-all. Lordy. We had a gazillion people come from all over and buy our junk. It was very chaotic on Friday. Like, we made 380 bucks. And nothing we sold was priced for more than ten dollars, except our patio table which we had found be just too large for our patio and decided to off-load for twenty bucks. Most things were in the 50 cents to one dollar range. Saturday was quite mellow in comparison, we did maybe a hundred dollars total that day. I guess Friday is the big day now in garage sales.

Nephew Tommy set up a pop stand with icy cold sodas and juice drinks for 50 cents (or 30 cents for the juice ones) and made $21.00 on Friday alone. Most of it was sodas, so he sold around 42 of them. It was nuts. People would come, look around, buy some junk or not, and then invariably get a soda! The fact that it was around 90 degrees didn't hurt a bit.

The ugly part of the day (you knew there had to be one) came right at the end. We had closed up, stowed all the goodies in the garage, and eaten some take-and-bake pizza, which I must say hit the spot in a big way. Then I went out to load up the patio table to deliver to a very nice woman who wanted it but didn't have a vehicle big enough to haul it. All was going well until A Certain Someone stepped in to assist.

I had measured the table and the inside of our Family Truckster and figured that I stood a good chance of just lifting it up and tucking it neatly inside, without having to dislodge the baby's carseat which as we all know is a total pain in the ass to install. I failed, however, to clarify this with J. who felt that the table should be turned upside down so as to glide easily over the floor of the Truckster.

Did I then say, "Let's just try it this way, I did some measuring and I think it'll just fit right in, and I'd rather deal with it not sliding that easily than have to take out the baby's seat or tie the hatch down" ? Did I? No, I did not. I caved without a word. Then when it did not fit, I asked (asked!) if I should get some rope or something to tie the hatch shut. Nah, J. says, and grabs the third-row seatbelts, looping them around the table legs. Good enough! Drive on.

By now I am really getting mad and send J. inside. I am angry because there is no way I'm driving anywhere with a slippery glass-topped table unsecured and ready to shoot out onto the road at any moment.

Then I discover that the seatbelts have ratcheted down on the table legs and won't loosen, and the only way to remove them from the table legs is to dismantle the table.

Now I'm really pissed, because I only figured that out after going and furiously yanking the carseat out, which turned out to have no actual effect on the situation.

J. has complained by this point that it's not fair because J. does not get pissy at me if I (bleep) something up. I am not yet ready to concede at this point in the skirmish so I just get more surly.

I get tools, remove the legs, shove the whole mess into the Truckster and drive fiercely to the woman's house.

It's an elderly single-wide trailer in one of those parks where the trailers are crammed in like cordwood. She lives there with her husband and three kids.

I am such an asshole. I live in a nice 'burb house and drive an SUV. I speak fluent English and if people treat me badly, it's not because of my ethnic heritage.* My kid has a college fund and with luck won't be forced to work as a mall custodian or gas station attendant or landscaper.

So, I unloaded the table, re-attached the two legs, and drove home. As I drove, I called J.'s sister, who witnessed some of my fury, and apologized for losing my temper. Then when I got home I apologized to my wife who was only trying to help.

Why did I do that to myself? Why didn't I just speak up? Well, because when you're a 10-year-old girl and your stepfather Fathead ridicules you constantly and treats you like you don't know anything and can't do anything right because you're a 10-year-old girl, you learn not to speak up. Plus, if you speak up or object in any way but the exactly perfect way, you'll make him mad and then you'll get in trouble.

Years later I was in a therapy group and there was a guy there who looked exactly like my stepfather. I could hardly speak with him in the same room at first.

So, dear reader(s), I hope that you treat your kids as though they are human beings even during the trying pre-teen/teen years when you really just want to lock them in the basement until they are more palatable. Or else they might end up like me.

*Although I was teased mercilessly as a child for having red hair: who's crying now, kids? Half of my tormentors probably went on to dye their hair red later in life.

P.S., I should clarify that my mother divorced this man when I was about 18 and didn't remarry until about three years ago, to the most fabulous stepfather a person could have. I didn't want anyone confusing Fathead with my current stepfather, Mr. Wonderful.


yellojkt said...

I'm a natural redhead too and wish it were more fashionable when I was young, but then again, they would have found something else to pick on.

Impetua said...

They always do. I was not only a flaming redhead but had glasses -- bifocals, no less -- braces on my teeth, and a certain amount of the usual teen acne. And I was pigeontoed, awkward and bookish. I didn't stand a frigging chance.