With gray hair, sweatpants and beer gut intact, he bounds from the old rust-laden Buick with the speed of a ninety-year-old driver approaching a roundabout. His gaze is steady and concentrated on the task at hand.
His mere presence forces my eyes to roll and my patience to dwindle, for he has circled my block for the last thirty minutes, eyeing my driveway and waiting for me to display more of the goods, just like he does every year.
Until finally…still an early bird by nearly an hour…and despite my clearly stated ad asking him not to come early, he moseys up my driveway and starts to paw through my discarded junk.
And so we meet again, Cheap Rummage Sale Guy.
He wears a face of contempt, for he has seen many a rummage sale in his day, and obviously I did not get that memo about what exactly he wanted to buy today.
“Why is this so expensive? What’s so special about this that it’s two dollars?” he will ask me, and I fight the urge to not go all Gran Torino on his ass.
He continues to scrutinize, picking things up and putting them down, wrinkling his face up as if he’s never seen modern day kitchen utensils. Whatever they are, he is not paying five bucks for an entire box full of them.
Until eventually he finds his treasure: a brand new package of black “Over the Hill” birthday candles. Two of the eight have been slightly melted by the sun I suppose.
“What happened HERE?” he accosts me, accusation in his voice. I must have some balls to sell those novelty candles for fifty cents.
“Well the sun must have melted those,” I reply. “So you can just have them.”
At this he is still not happy, for there is another brand new, perfect package of the same candles nearby. He picks them up and asks, “And what about these? Are you going to charge me for these?”
I fight the urge the rip all the candles from his hands, refusing to sell or give him anything just out of spite. This is a rummage SALE, buddy, not a “I’m going to put stuff in my driveway and you can come take it for free” sale. I deserve all one hundred dollars that this pathetic sale will make, even if it wasted countless hours of my time and the tax write-off at Goodwill would have been better.
“Uh…yes, I am going to charge you.”
He scoffs and grudgingly hands over fifty cents for the almost two packages of candles, and my mom has to hold my leg down to prevent my foot from landing directly into his ass as he turns to leave. On his way he passes his arch rival in the rummage sale circuit, and he triumphantly gives a nod to say “I beat you to this one, buddy.”
It will be a joyous ride back to the hoarder house.