As the last Sunday of each April and September approaches, I ask myself the same question: Why the fuck am I doing this to myself?
There's a certain local supper club (with high prices by most rural standards) that hosts a mammoth outdoor consignment auction on these two days. Every year. It's a local tradition. The place is surrounded on all sides by fields, one of which is usually full of drying, rattling corn . . . and kind of creepy, since it butts right up against the auction site and is a little too reminiscent of a Stephen King story that happened to be on TV last night.
The auction is held in the grassy, weedy meadow behind the supper club. If the weather promises to be nice, people from all around haul in crap by the trailer- and truckload. Literally. There are rows upon rows of things people are hoping to unload -- from Chinese-made merde to farm implements, antiques and collectibles to common household items and large appliances. And hunting rifles. Of course, hunting rifles. Three auctioneers drive their yodel-wagons up and down the rows, trying to peddle the various wares . . . with varying degrees of success.
I take my "unwanteds" there whenever I can. If the weather promises to be nice (which it didn't last April, so I had a bumper crop of castoffs this weekend). Preparing for this event eats up the better portion of a week for me, and I pretty much get nowhere near my computer. Why? Because I try to sensibly group things into boxes and flats. I try to make sure it's all reasonably clean. I don't take folding tables to the auction, since they can be and have been boosted, so I scrounge up banana boxes from a local bent-and-dent grocery and set my items on top of these. (Why I have so much junk to get rid of is a story in and of itself. I'm not a hoarder, though, in case you're wondering.)
Then begins the packing of my car and the driving -- a three-day ordeal. On the first day, I stake my spot and set out my "table" boxes, which must be tarped lest they get wet or blown away. On the second day, I haul whatever I can cram into my Ford Escort wagon, untarp the boxes, set out my sale items, and retarp. On the third day, the day of the auction, I get up very early to get to the site before the auction begins, so I can untarp my spot and neaten it. If I have money to spend, I'll hang out and bid on a few things, chat with acquaintances, and maybe venture into the bar to catch the Packers game on TV.
Today, no. I just left. I'd had it. I was broke, my back ached, my knees ached, and I was in a generally pissy mood.
My ultimate goal? To divest my life of the ball-and-chain called clutter, move somewhere else, and live simply and happily. One of the many lessons I've learned over the years is that STUFF can really weigh you down. So take heed.