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.