Unfortunately, because my mom is an old person, she gets up about three hours before she goes to bed, and she insisted that she needed to be set up and ready for teeming hordes of customers before 6AM. I thought this was insane, because even if you went to a yard sale at 6AM, it's still dark, so you wouldn't be able to see anything. But, in dutiful good son mode, I drove over to her house this morning at five fucking thirty and hauled her junk over to the churchyard.
That's right: this was a big, huge neighborhood garage sale, being held on the grounds of a Methodist church. Longtime readers of this site know that God hates me, and does not like me coming to His house, so I tend to stay away from churches lest, like Judas, I fall headlong, burst asunder in the midst, and all my bowels gush out. However, I seemed to survive zulkey's wedding unscathed, so I continued to press my luck.
The first challenge came when my mom decided to have a spectacularly pointless argument with the deranged old coot running the show, a Poopdeck Pappy-looking motherfucker with a walker. The crux of the argument involved whether Mom would set up her table under a tree (her preference) or not under a tree (the old man's preference). This went on for about an hour, as I sat there in the car thinking how much more I enjoyed listening to 75-year-olds argue than I did sleeping. Finally, the dispute was settled (kinda under the tree was the compromise position), and the old man, having been unable to best my elderly Alabamian mother in the oratory arts, turned his wrath to me.
"You can't park there," he said, referring to the Chickwagon's position on the church lawn.
"Why not?", I asked.
"It's the church lawn. You can't park on the lawn," he replied. This seemed reasonable enough, but I couldn't help notice there were about half a dozen pickup trucks that were also parked on the church lawn, and I said so. He deferred that I could park there long enough to unload the car, but then, I would have to leave, and I would not be allowed to park in the church parking lot; I would have to park on the street like everyone else. I was pleased to let him win this one, since it would require me to walk only an extra ten feet or so, but he clucked like he'd just pulled one over on Inspector Poirot.
After l'affair stationner was resolved, he turned to me, or rather turned as fast as his walker would allow, and said, randomly, "I don't know you." I thought about replying that I never heard of him either, but maybe we could exchange business cards, and if I ever needed someone to pick around the dump for me, I'd give him a call, but by that point, I figured any further words between us would end with me unpeeling some lead bananas between his shoulder blades, so I refrained.*
The car unloaded and the tables set up, I spent the next half-hour attempting to assemble a wardrobe rack in the dark, and wondering where all the customers were. I thought about bailing at that point, but I remembered I had some stuff I wanted to sell also, and so I headed back to my car, just in time for Confrontation With Inexplicably Enraged Elderly Methodist #2. This was a white-haired old lady with a faint Teutonic accent who, like many other people in the area, eyeballed me like I was Charles Manson Jr., but unlike them actually had the temerity to address me, clearly not fearing for her life as much as she should have. "You can't park there," she said to me as I unloaded a like-new Vox amp onto the curb. The line had an eerily familiar quality.
"Uh...here? On this public street? Why not?"
"Other people are going to want to park there," she said, alerting me to a little-known traffic law. "This is a sale. You're not even a member of the church."
This was two more old people yelling at me than I can handle in a 24-hour period, so I threw on a thug mug and suggested that she call a cop and see if they would do anything about my insolent parking on a public street irrespective of the wishes of other theoretical motorists. Daylight having broken, I set up my gear and was shocked to find that, outdoors, at the corner of a major intersection, I was actually picking up a wireless signal. Maybe, I thought to myself, this won't be too bad. I can handle the opprobrious glares of the church folk. I can sit here, get some writing work done, help my mom out a bit more, sell my stuff, and get through the day with a minimum of hassle.
That's when the "praise music" band started to set up.
*: That's right, dear readers! I am congratulating myself for not murdering a defenseless, crippled senior citizen with a handgun. What a good boy am I.