A Yard Sale in May

Marcia, Jason, and Debbie planned a Saturday yard sale for early May. They had discovered a yard sale was a good way to get rid of some of the stuff everyone always accumulates. Trinkets, house wares, used furniture, and just about anything imaginable is fair game in a yard sale. Yard sale items are things you don’t want to throw in the trash, but at the same time it’s things you no longer want or need.

Yard sale, garage sale, moving sale, tag sale, estate sale, whatever these events are normally called in your area they amount to the same thing. Get cash for your junk instead of a tax deduction for donating to a charity.

The last couple of times a sale was held here at the house I was either in a class or working with a client. This most recent event found me without any excuse for leaving. I stayed around helping Marcia get set up, and then took a position on the porch and just hung out all morning.

Marcia, Debbie, and Jason were the proprietors of the sale. They all stayed busy, rearranging the merchandise to attract buyers, talking with people as they stopped to look around. The sale turned out to be a success. They all made some money, and got rid of a bunch of stuff. Some folks walked away with excellent bargains as the goal of the day was to move the merchandise. Any money gained during the process was a bonus.

Near the end of the day Debbie, Jason, and I were sitting on the porch talking while a couple of late customers milled about in the drive. Marcia was inside the house. One of the customers, a gentleman some years older than I, had parked in the drive. This in itself was not a problem, people had been doing it all day. Once he finished browsing he set about to leave. Little did we know at this point the most entertaining part of the day was about to take place.

The guy was driving a small SUV, a newer model. Upon starting his engine I anticipated him to put the transmission in reverse and back slowly out of the drive into the street to depart. So, I was a little shocked when he began pulling forward. “OK, he’s going to do a three point turn.” I thought. This was an exit strategy I would not have thought of but my drive is wide enough for this maneuver.

Those thoughts barely went through my head when the front left wheel of the SUV rolled into and jumped over a rather large rock at the edge of my drive. My drive is lined on one side by landscaping rocks that separate the driveway from a mulched area with flowers and about twenty feet before reaching a retaining wall. The rocks create a substantial barricade, I thought. The rocks aren’t boulder size but many of them require two people to lift so they’re quite big. Luckily he didn’t drive forward very far before stopping.

“Well,” I was thinking again as I watched this show intently, “He hasn’t damaged anything yet, and if he just backs up now he’ll be able to turn the vehicle enough to allow him to go straight out the drive onto the road”.

None of this apparently occurred to the old guy driving the SUV. He backed up until the same left front tire bumped into the same rock. He had been moving slowly so the car just sort of bumped the rock and bounced off. The driver immediately shifted forward and accelerated slightly. The SUV bounced again as the right front tire jumped over a different rock. Now both front wheels were on the wrong side of the rocks. He stopped just as the rear wheels contacted the rocks. The row of rocks were now between his front and rear tires.

Without much hesitation the SUV was shifted to reverse once again as the driver accelerated backwards. He failed to accelerate enough to clear the rocks though. Both front tires slammed into the large rocks bouncing the vehicle roughly before  coming to a stop.

It was at this point that I thought of asking the driver if he needed some help. Maybe if he had turned his head in my direction, and given me a look of helplessness, or stupidity, I would have asked. But he didn’t change his gaze from straight ahead. Thinking back now it was a good thing no one was in the driveway because he never looked to the rear, even though he made a few attempts to go that direction.

He repeated the forward and backward motion a couple of times, each time bouncing the SUV as the front, or rear tires hit the rocks. Reminded me of a pinball bouncing between two pins.

Debbie couldn’t take it any more, as she was near bursting with laughter. She got up and went inside the house. She said later she didn’t want to embarrass the old guy.  I couldn’t believe that to be possible. Jason and I continued watching, mouths open in wonder. Neither of us had seen anyone do anything  near this stupid in a long time.

Finally the SUV accelerated in reverse enough for the right front wheel to bounce over the rocks, but before the opposite wheel bounced over the vehicle stopped. The driver shifted into forward and really accelerated this time turning the steering wheel right. The SUV lunged forward, the left front wheel climbed the first rock, the steering wheel straightened, and the car was in motion, the left front wheel bouncing on the rocks. Suddenly one of these large rocks became dislodged and bounced up between the left front wheel and the fender well. This locked up the left front wheel, but the other three wheels kept the vehicle in motion. Friction finally pulled the rock loose from where it was stuck in between the left front wheel and the wheel well and the SUV sped out of my driveway with the driver turning right and disappearing quickly out of sight. Unfortunately for the driver the right turn was a dead end. In a few minutes he drove back by the house on his way to the main road, never looking back.

Jason, Debbie, and I laughed about this the rest of the afternoon. We had to reset a few of the rocks along the edge of the driveway but it was worth it. Who knew that a yard sale could be this entertaining? The bigger question is, should this guy be driving?