My husband and I are different levels of introverts. I’m one of those who can be an extrovert for short amounts of time, then retreat to safety. My husband is a true introvert who’d rather put things out by the curb than price crap and put it out to sell.
I get it. In my sixty-something years There was one garage sale in New Orleans where a roommate dressed up and armed himself like the prison trustee in Cool Hand Luke. With a shotgun I didn’t know he owned. In partial jest and response to crazy shoppers.
In the pre-Katrina days of New Orleans, sharp-elbowed grandmas were frightening, on the NOPSI buses or garage sales. It was, and is, a huge multicultural city, and what passed for over the top rudeness somewhere like Iowa, was met with a sigh and eye-rolling.
Living in New Orleans prepared me for living in an even more multicultural city like Houston. In a city where Hispanic men are much nicer to me than Anglos, sometimes the niceties of good behavior and respect are lost.
Garage sales are the worst, especially for introverts trying to downsize. I get that my husband would rather take a tiny tax write off than chase off early birds, offensive hagglers, and thieves. Or accidentally opening our car garage door on community garage sale days, only to find cars stopping and people stalking down our driveway. Shudder.
I can’t even organize my garage without people trying to browse.
The worst is someone, like today, walking over and quizzing us about buying things stored in our house. Asking how much something cost. Standing there licking their lips in anticipation. Shudder.
In a time where porch thieves steal packages, furniture, and plants, it seems personal boundaries and respect for property are gone.
This is irony for me, since my free-range childhood often meant trespassing and doing ridiculously dangerous stunts. Just thinking about it makes me ashamed.
A friend of mine keeps urging me to have a big sale and make some bucks. I smile, and keep quiet, remembering Russell standing on the front porch of the Lakeview house. Mirrored aviator glasses, khaki colored clothes, cowboy hat, a smirk, and a shotgun cradled in his arms. Yeah, no garage sale without friend Russell.
The summer fireworks season is upon us, and I’m already seeing plans for huge block parties with massive fireworks plans. I used to love them. My childhood stocking at Christmas was packed with them. It wonderfully stank of them.
Now I have friends who are veterans with PTSD, and fireworks are a major trigger. They suffer through every New Year’s Eve, Memorial Day, you name it. Being kind and considerate towards people who served the U.S. means more than my love of blowing crap up.
What once seemed like good, harmless fun terrorizes my friends. My right must come second to theirs.
So please, y’all. If a veteran puts out a sign in their yard pleading no fireworks, don’t feel like it infringes on your rights. Be grateful that veteran donned a uniform to keep us free, be mindful of how they might suffer, support our veterans not only in word, but deed. And gratitude.