September's never been one of my favorite months. Fall's coming, everything in nature is dying, it means the beginning of the school year, which before college was a very bad thing, and even though I'm fine with school nowadays it still signifies some kind of disruption of life, which I've never been a fan of. But before the weather gets too cold, yard sale day comes around and everyone puts stuff out for cheap and you can walk around and talk to everyone and run into random people you hadn't seen in ages and it's great fun! Unfortunately, the street on which I grew up didn't attract many shoppers since it was relatively far off from the center of town and housed some unfriendly people. The upside was it gave me full reign to shop shop shop 'til I drop drop dropped. The downside was it meant I bought tons of junk every year and then had no means of selling it the next time garage sale day came around.
Anyhow, to exemplify how awesome this day is, here's an excerpt from my *gulp* Xanga from ages ago...Okay it's too poorly written so you won't get an actual passage of text, but here's the list of stuff I got when my friend and I walked up and down 10+ streets, all around town, to satisfy our packrat urges, complete with the ~s I used as flouncy bulletpoints when I was 15:
~ A bunch of old records (Boston, Billy Joel, Stevie Nicks, Steppenwolf, Jackson Browne
~Lots of jewelry (IIRC it was a necklace that looked like a purse and some obnoxious tropical-looking earrings I wear to this day...as well as pineapple clip-on earrings that I've since lost)
~ Awesome Clothes
~And this wonderful movie:
The movie and a few records, and if I recall correctly, a few trashy novels I found (though the deluge of Jackie Collins books didn't come til next year...I'd problably be a much more intellectual person if I'd never gone through that phase), were free. Gotta love getting free stuff that you actually use (I still watch Santa Claus is Comin to town every year, and since ABC Family is being flaky with their holiday specials, the VHS comes in handy).
And then more free stuff comes the next day. Monday is trash day, so on Sunday everyone puts out the stuff they didn't sell and don't want to keep so people can rummage through it, and the day after that whatever's left over conveniently disappears, to sit in a landfill for 100 years. Actually, maybe that's part of why I like buying people's old stuff so much; I don't want it to go to waste so I let it clog up my closet in big boxes for years on end instead. Then, one day, I'll need, say a portable walkman tape player/AM radio, a bedazzler and a pair of clown pants (that'd be a fun night, wouldn't it?) and I won't have to go buy new ones. I also like old music and love the sound quality of records, so it makes sense to buy them for cheap. And I love the smell of the old paper of books and album liner notes, even if it's pure mildew. And, you know, cheap stuff is awesome by default.
More than anything, other people's stuff makes me feel connected to random strangers, people in my own town that I wouldn't say more than "hello" to otherwise. I like to know who else listened to that record (and create stories about how old they were and where they were when they first heard it), whose kids watched movie XYZ and when they decided they were "too old" for it (and one day they'll be my age and find it at a yard sale and decide to relive their childhoods like I did), and perhaps most importantly, who last devoured that Jackie Collins book and if they were reading it to laugh (this one's me when I judge the books' titles and covers), to escape (this one's me when I sit down in an airport and read one of them), or because they actually thought it was good literature (This one's not me, but sometimes I like to pretend that it is, especially with English teachers and the like). And the surprising number of people with trashy novels on their garage sale tables is always comforting; it's good to know I'm not alone. And I'd never actually pay money for an Engleburt Humperdink album or a formerly $5.99 Bejeweled CD-rom or someone's old perfume, I'm glad to know they're out there. To each their own?
And, of course, garage sales lent themselves to this gem from That 70s Show: