essays

One P Down, Two to Go

yard sale sign 2To me, possessions are one of the three evil P’s that our culture brainwashes us to go after, the other two being power and prestige. These bad P’s usually go hand in hand, you nab one of them and the other two follow. My challenge has been to break free of the race for them in search of simplicity.

I tried to break free of my obsession with possessions this past summer. But when faced with the daunting task of letting go I panicked. At my husband’s urging, I scheduled a series of garage sales to help me unload a mélange of old toys, mismatched china, antique furnishings, old paintings, books, sports gear and knick-knacks that have been piling up in the garage for many years. When the day came to meet the yard sale at nitepublic and price my prized possessions, I cowered. At the mere thought of strangers offering nickels and dimes for my chipped McCoy vases and stained Limoges plates they wanted or making callous comments about the detritus they didn’t want, I suddenly had the urge to evacuate the premises as quickly as I could. In order for this sale to happen, I had to leave the details to an unattached salesperson, my husband.

When I returned from my retreat, I was horrified to see so many of my items gone.

“What happened to the cane back chair?” I squealed. 

 “I sold that to Luann, I got two bucks for it,” he said with glee. 

“Are you crazy?  I just paid $75 for it only a month ago!” I cried. “And what happened to the trunk that was on the side?”

“A guy came by and offered to move it out for me, at no charge.”

“No charge? What about all the stuff inside?” I shrieked.

yard sale table“Oh, was there stuff inside?” He asked with a smirk.

The torturous yard sales lasted for the next three Saturdays. Word spread that each week there were new items being unveiled, and that the best time to buy was when I was not around. In retrospect the weekly sales were blessings in disguise, I downsized and purged beyond my wildest dreams.  However, more often than not, I’ll be in the home of a friend, relative or neighbor and say, “Hey, where’d you get that? I have one just like it.” And inevitably they’ll answer, “Your husband gave it to me at your yard sale. Do you want it back?” I just hang my head, and say, “No, it’s yours now!”

One P down, and two to go. On the positive side, power and prestige will be much easier to let go of, since I never had much of either one to begin with, and I never really wanted them.

Susan Pompa is a PR lady born and raised in Baltmore. When she's not helping to promote computer access for people with disabilities at LINC, she travels around the globe.

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