This Friday, I have no goofy dreams to report and no crank phone calls to repeat. I’m just going to pontificate from my pillow. Today’s pompous pontification – yard sales cause accidents.
Here in New England, the “seasons” as we know them are a series of “firsts,” “opening days,” and “lasts.” There are formal opening days at places like Fenway Park, summer ice cream stands, and Decorator Show Houses. There are opening days of hunting and fishing seasons. There is the first time a person jumps into the Atlantic Ocean and the first day to wear flip-flops. I almost forgot the first day of Patriots training camp. Then there’s the last day to pick apples and to wear white pants. Not simultaneously, please.
I could go on and on.
One opening day that is rarely discussed is the dangerous and unpredictable opening day of yard sale season. No one really knows the exact date; there seems to be a mysterious mathematical equation involving air temperature, the chance of precipitation, and square feet of house junk. Maybe it’s more arcane; if 3 fluffy clouds are floating in a deep blue sky pierced by one vapor trail, then something goes off in the New England brain and people start bringing their stuff out into the driveway and making cardboard signs.
Whatever the secret signal, it went off last Saturday and the New Hampshire Seacoast was buzzing with yard sales. There was a lot of merchandise for sale everywhere. I always glance over to see if anything useful shouts out to me, but then I look away quickly to avoid the siren song. After all, there’s not much room left here in the Coop; I’m trying to get rid of things.
I was weaving the Jeep inland, away from the beach and towards the Newmarket Farmer’s Market. I crossed over Route 1 onto Route 27, riding the free waves and singing along to some rockabilly song on the UNH radio station. Things were good until the car in front of me slowed down to a crawl; I noticed all the yard sale signs. Apparently, the “neighborhood yard sale” was this year’s craze, highlighting the collective trash and treasure of multiple suburban collectors. But why was that mini-van parked perpendicularly across the road? Oh oh, it looked like AN ACCIDENT. Not good.
Thinking I could avoid the traffic snarl, I turned into a neighborhood I’d never been in before and started searching for a way around the accident. I might as well have been in a corn maze; all roads kept bringing me back to the scene of the accident. I must have passed 20 yard sales in that neighborhood but not one thing caught my eye.
(By the way, has anyone invented a corn maze for cars? That might be fun.)
The PO-lice eventually arrived and started directing traffic; I ended up backtracking onto Route 1 again and I wasn’t too late for the Farmer’s Market. I couldn’t help but laugh a little when I thought about how these things can happen. I’d seen it a hundred times sitting in the back seat of my parent’s car. Heavy footed Herman would be cruising along some country road at the speed limit plus 20 and Helen would say “Herman, slow down and stop at that yard sale on the right.” Naturally, Herm would burn a little rubber and utter some light profanity as he would bring the car to a screeching halt. Sometimes, I think he’d speed up just to spite my mother. It was his way of saying “I’m driving the car today.” We’ve never had any accidents, though; thank goodness.
There will be a lot of yard sales this Memorial Day weekend and I’ve got two recommendations for you: