Old Neighborhood Annual Garage Sale.
This year I did not walk around much. I did not purchase a single thing; I did not even stop by a garage sale to turn my nose up at audacious book prices (that guy last year on Pothead Avenue wanted $2 for a paperback. I don't care if it was a classic, I told him he was an idgit--in no uncertain terms, and wished him luck with his flimsy sale. I do not wonder why my husband is not anxious to accompany me on such second hand endeavours).
My friends and I used to count down the days until the festival, and save up our dollars to spend on elephant ears and random trinkets. One year I bought about a dozen Beatles 45's for a quarter apiece. I had counted on them to make me big bucks. They now decorate my staircase. I did make big bucks, however, playing the flute on the street corner, and even wound up in the local paper a few times (apparently this time of year yields slow news days).
The nights that the festivities cooled down were always the most torturous to me. These were the times in which I would sit on my front porch and watch the passerby. I'd look curiously, if not longingly, at those college-aged individuals with bumper stickers on their cars, be-cigaretted and be-sunglassed and be-going-to-a-party-I-was-too-young-to-hope-to-go-to and hope that I would one day be in their number. Some days I wonder if I've ever grown out of this.
My favorite moment, however, was never the festival itself, wherein I felt like a tourist in my own neighborhood (and at the same time one who entertains tourists), but in the days following--when litter drifted across the streets once again trafficked by cars (having been blocked off for two days). Old bookcases and dressers. those with too many stickers and carvings on them to make the sale, decorated the curbsides.
And so, in my own tradition, I took a long walk today the silence following the festival is as refreshing as the moment of silence when you turn off the vacuum cleaner. I reviewed the avenues that adorned my adolescence, and found myself in a range of emotion. It's always faintly sad, to revisit such places, particularly when alone (otherwise you can distract yourself by showing off funny stories about the people who used to live in certain houses, etc). Today my t-shirt showed the sweat on my back, as it was the hottest part of the day; my feet have two new blisters because I walked many, many blocks.
The festival. This year saw the departure of another older brother, one whom I do not believe has left the neighborhood since our family's first encounters there, roughly 15 years ago. Apparently he has tired of living in the so-called "artists residence" (despite the few legitimate artists there, this place is more appropriately realized as a party haven for underaged and spoiled kids who play guitar or make crappy youtube films and call it art) and, thankfully, is moving out. On the slightly more awkward edge of that--he moved today to a semi-distant city with his girlfriend who, up until recently, I simply referred to as "Lil Miss Hotpants." She needed a nickname: tall, slender, attractive blonde, with a fresh law degree though obviously not a brain in her head cos she's dating the dimpled dorkbrain, my brother.
I wasn't much help packing, but I fed them pizza. I also insisted that the long-legged-wonder walk over two blocks (it only takes her two steps) and meet my parents since, after all, she's moving away with my brother. I don't think that's being unreasonable. Who ever said little sisters couldn't be as demanding and domineering as their big brothers? (Don't worry, I already asked her about her GPA. She passed my test, but barely.)
My parents were unusually gracious, especially given the circumstances, i.e "Hi, nice to meet you. Oh, you're moving tomorrow?" I was gracious enough not to point out the blaring double standard evident in the comparison between this reaction to "shacking up", and their reaction to myself when I moved in with the man who is now my husband (i.e. sound of shotgun being loaded, literally. Please give Floyd all due props).
Brother and Beautiful Blonde are gone now. I stopped by earlier. I had promised to help clean, and understood that they weren't actually moving until Tuesday morning. Monday afternoon I found the house empty. This made me feel more like a little sister than ever. I missed the boat. I put down my bucket of cleaning schtuff and took a walk. I stopped in several treelawns to examine telephone poles, and review the posts.
he's boxed up his staples and staple guns, my brother has, and so his occasionally profound poetry will no longer grace the telephone poles of the neighborhood in which we grew up.