By Mario Varricchio
I used to love garage sales. Then my love for collecting crap subsided. Now I hate garage sales or more to the point, I hate Garage Sale signs! It’s not so much the sign I hate, but the way they hang around.
“Hey…let’s have a garage sale. We’ll spend three hours making a few hundred signs, put them on every pole between here and there and sit back for a few hours to make chump change.” Said everyone who ever had a garage sale.
“Now that it’s over we should go around and take all our Garage Sale posters down.” Said NO ONE EVER!! This Garagesalephobia of mine all started one cool spring morning a few years back. I’d gone down the shops to grab some essentials when I saw it there, taped to the pole. ‘Huge Garage Sale…this Sat, 9am…blah…blah…blah…records… comics….NO EARLYBIRDS!!’
I checked the time, bang on 9am. It wasn’t far, so I jumped in the car and scooted around there quick smart least some “early bird” snaffle up that rare vinyl liquorice pie that I just know is cooling on the window sill.
I pull up to the address parking directly in front. There’s no one around. Puzzled I check the time, 9.15am. Maybe they’ve slept in? I get out and approach the door. Hesitating I knock and wait. I knock again louder. I hear movement then swearing as the door opens. “What the fuck do you want?” groans a sleepy looking Catweazle. “Ah…I’m here for the Garage Sale…I’m keen on vinyl…”
“THAT WAS A MONTH AGO!” he screams at me then slams the door. Stunned I turn quickly and march out the gate. At the car door I stop, then walk back a few metres to the gate.
“WELL TAKE DOWN YOUR STUPID SIGN THEN!” I shout quickly before hurriedly getting in the car and taking off.
Fuming, I swear to myself all the way home about how inconsiderate some people can be. “A month ago?” I say out loud, “A month ago…and…The signs still up!! How many more are out there and not just left over from Catweazle’s but from all the other weekends sales? And how many victims like me probably internalising and suffering in silence”. Shaking my head, I arrive home, go inside, make a nice cup of tea, turn on the tele and sit on the couch to PLAN MY REVENGE. But first I wait for my tea to get stone cold.
The next Saturday I head down to my local milk bar for my usual essentials, Tally-Ho papers, Banana Big M and a $2 bag of gummy bears. Going back to the car I see it…still there! The exact same Garage Sale Sign. I look at the time, 7.15am and without hesitation I head around there.
It’s quiet and again I park out front, music blaring. I rev the car one last time before switching off the ignition and slam the door loudly then head through the front gate. As I approach the door I yell “Hello, hello…HELLO!” I knock loudly, RATATTATARAT!!!
I hear movement and then again swearing as the door opens violently and Catweazle screams, “WTF? What do you want?”. “Oh…hello. I saw your sign up the road and thought I’d check out your Garage Sale…you do have a garage sale today don’t you?”
“AAAAAAARGH!! THAT WAS OVER A MONTH AGO!! NOW FUCK OFF!” he spits as he again slams the door in my face. Standing there for a moment I grit my teeth and quietly growl…”Well take down your damn sign then”. I turn and slowly walk back to the car.
Fast forward to the next Saturday. I make sure to wake up extra early. I make a mug of English Breakfast tea. While I wait for it to go stone cold I look through my phone and set up a group message to a small group of trusted friends who I have pre-arranged to have on standby. I drink my cold tea in one gulp then start packing the car.
Fully loaded I head down to the milk bar for my Saturday essentials. I park and walk straight in without looking around. As I leave I slowly raise my eyes to see the same fucking Garage Sale sign and although partially obscured by a new glittery “Massive Garage Sale” sign, it’s still there and for all intense and purposes it could very well still apply.
I grab out my phone and send the pre-prepared message, “It’s on, oh it’s on!”
I check the time, it’s 6.15am. I grab a rolled up A3 sign and tape it on the pole before getting in the car and driving to Catweazle’s house. Pulling up out front I notice a bunch of balloons on the letterbox, the same colour combination I’d also seen on the corner STOP sign.
By the time I get out of the car the rest of the team have arrived and were quietly setting up in the front yard and driveway. I pulled out my amp and guitar while Savario set up his full drum kit and Emma lugged in her bass amp. I ran a power lead from the outdoor outlet I’d noticed the week before. The others set up tables with everything from books to records.
At 7.30am I looked at the others and nodded. Without a sound check and with one eye on the front door we ripped into our first song just as the first bargain hunters started to arrive.
“Welcome everybody to the garage sale to end all garage sales!!
Here from 7.30am every Saturday until notified, we could be here all year!
1,2,3,4….Well our mama’s in prison, we’re tryin’ to raise her bail,
We’re selling her things, and it’s a BIG ARSE GARAGE SALE”
Suddenly I see the door swing open and Catweazle in a dressing gown mouth wide open surveying the scene. His head swings around and our eyes meet. Turning to the gathered crowd I announce over the music, “YOUR HOST EVERYBODY, CATWEAZLE!” The crowd cheer while Catweazle shakes his head and shuts the door, slowly. We play for another 20 minutes than pack up and go, having gotten rid of some collected crap and making some chump change but most importantly having had a ball. Laughing we say our good byes and head off into the day.
The next weekend I head to the milk bar as usual. As I get back in my car I look up and notice that the sign is now gone. In its place, another glittery sign….for last weekend.
*Big Ass Garage Sale song by Fred Eaglesmith