“Using Wayside Plants” (and also fish)

I’m developing a new-found appreciation for estate sales. Previously, I’d just seen them as a dumping ground for adult-goods, and not the cool kinds with naughty bits protruding everywhere; I’m talking about ratty linens, little porcelain cat figurines, and spoon collections. And I’m not wrong—that’s still 90% of what they sell at these things (note: that statement is not intended to be factual)—but they can be a lot of fun if you don’t see them as a yardsale, exactly, but as a living museum (where all the exhibits happen to be on sale).

I visited one last Saturday, and I couldn’t help but—prepare to be stunned—think of it as a videogame. Have you ever played BioShock, or basically any other RPG-style game set in a post-apocalyptic world? (This is where we really separate my audience who’s familiar with my other work from those who just want to read about yardsales, dammit.) One of the primary story-telling devices those games use is that of the found-object; much of your in-game time is spend just exploring your surroundings, picking up things, examining them, and learning about those who came before you and what happened to them. It was hard not to think of that as I’d explore a living room, and spot books about journalism and writing on a shelf, or visit an office, and spy old stationary with the letterhead from our local paper—objects telling a small part of the story of who these people were.

Maybe I’ll start a new blog called The Yardsale Detective. Or possibly a series of best-selling novels.

The estate sale also helped to illustrate one of the few benefits of ‘saling by yourself, as I often do: I was able to spend a good 35-40 minutes just exploring the house. I don’t think my wife would’ve let me get away with that, had she been there. Not even my mom would’ve, and she has a “no man left behind” policy regarding yardsales. Of course, all that said, I didn’t leave this day’s sales empty-handed:

I actually bought that for my wife—the proprietor of Woods Walks and Wildlife—but I’m sure it’ll come in handy next time I’m lost in the woods, and absolutely need to know how to build a birdhouse out of some wild strawberries and some owl vomit pellets.

I also—this is a first!—managed to snap a picture at one of the sales, all by myself! I used my cellphone, because at least that way I could pretend that the person’s yardsale had inspired me to send an important text message right then and there. Here it is:

Those, as you can hopefully tell, are enormous plush fish. You could easily fit three or four Big Mouth Billy Basses inside each one. And I love them with all my heart.

Total spent: $1

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