The first is George Carlin for his brilliant monologue on "Stuff." It's a darkly accurate take on how our lives are ruled by accumulating
stuff. And the second, of course, is from last year's Pixar classic "WALL-E." OK, so we know I'm a Pixarfan, and that's not just because I'm surrounded by it (mostly "Cars"). There are messages in those cute little cartoons, and Wall-E's was another dark comment on all our crap. In fact, the crap DID overtake our lives, as Carlin seemed to suggest it would.
Today I got a taste of what that life would be like, as most of our weekend was consumed with our crap. We dropped the kids off Friday at Kate's parents, had dinner at Red Lobster (well, come on, days without the kids are as rare as a drink of cold water in a desert) and then attacked the crap.
In fairness to us, crap is unavoidable as a parent. In fact, you're not really a parent unless you've got truckloads of toys, bottles, tiny toys, trucks and garbage bags full of clothes. And as the kids got older, the crap flowed downhill, as it always does, to the basement.
Now when we were looking for a new house a couple years ago - we needed a larger place, and that was BEFORE we knew Kate was going to have TWO sisters for Jayden, not just one - I secretly wanted a finished basement. I wanted a place for myself. And before the girls were born, that's exactly what I had, a room and a place where I could go late at night and chill. That changed after they were born. I had to stay upstairs even late at night to listen for their cries while playing online poker, and every smidge of space downstairs was swallowed by old kid crap.
So I was grinning from ear to ear, even if it took hours to gather up all our crap to sell at the garage sale. We literally had a shitload of it - it took up all our garage - and not all of it was kid crap, I'm sorry to say. There was a foot spa. An old Game Boy. An old Walkman. Videotapes. Old movies. A couple VCRs. An old fan. A printer for our digital camera. All crap we thought we really needed but didn't use very much.
There really is nothing like a garage sale, and yet they all seem to be alike.
We got up at 6 a.m. - yes, the one day we didn't have kids, we still had to get up with the sunrise - and sure enough, people showed up at our house around 6:45 a.m., or an hour before we were scheduled to start.
I felt a bit violated watching all these people go through all our old crap and even a little more insulted when they turned up their nose at it or, as so many did, just drove by our house. I couldn't believe others didn't want our crap, even as I was trying to get rid of it.
Yet I was quick to bargain with anyone because I also wanted to feel good about the fact that
our crap was going to a good home, kind of the thing people tell themselves when they're
giving up a dog or cat.
I had several of these conversations:
"How much is this?"
"Um...how about $2?"
"What about $1.75?"
By the end, after our sale ended, we still had some crap left. And so I marked a table and an old, small bookshelf FREE. Those were snapped up. Then Kate marked another box full of crap FREE and a woman came by to claim that. People love free crap, even if that's exactly what it is.
As I was shopping at Target the day before our sale, I kept thinking about Wall-E as he scooped up all the crap people left behind. Then I saw a snow cone maker for only $29.99. The kids would like that, I thought, and I could have a low calorie dessert at night. I was close to buying it.
And then it hit me. This is exactly the kind of crap that people buy all the time. It's exactly the kind of thing that we'd probably sell at our next garage sale after using it only a couple times.
And for now, after this weekend's efforts, the basement is reasonably clear of crap.
It felt good. I'd like to keep it that way for as long as possible.
I left the snow-cone maker on the shelf.