It’s dawned on me that this might be as good as life gets, so I better make myself comfortable.
I started with excavating my apartment of pop culture fossils and clothes that don’t fit, then selling them on the street.
“It’s like my entire life is on the sidewalk,” I told my friend as he posed my belongings on a pair of bed sheets. A retailer by nature, he is adept at creating little displays out of bankers’ boxes and post-it notes.
“Not your whole life,” he said. “Just the castoffs.”
We hadn’t sold more than a couple of DVDs before a cop in an unmarked car moved us along to the grass directly in front of my building.
“The city doesn’t like it when you sell your wares on the boulevard,” the cop said, like I was one of the West End hookers that used to work out of my building.
“I paid good money for those wares!” I said loud enough for him to hear, but the cop was already across the street breaking up another lawn sale.
My sales associate and I parked it under a tree and waited like greeters at Walmart on Black Friday. He greeted everyone who stopped to browse and then would quickly tidy up the messes they made, while I sipped coffee on a lawn chair.
We packed our wares in shopping bags from Paul Frank, Restoration Hardware, Roots and Adidas. “I love it when our customers walk back with our bags,” my friend said. “It makes me feel like I’m in a mall.”
The trajectory of my goal quickly went from making a little mad money to finding someone who appreciates my taste. Apparently lesbians do because they bought the majority of my clothes.
I thought my look is dad-on-vacation; apparently I’m more like Ellen DeGeneres on an Olivia Cruise.
At times, finding a home for my stuff was akin to giving away a bride. I must admit to getting choked up when I sold a girl her first table. It took me back to my first couch and how grown up that made me feel.
Then there were those moments when I was reminded why I live in the West End, like when a woman was bullied by her gay entourage into buying a wrestling singlet because the colour looked good on her.
“Those licence plates used to hang in a gay bar in San Francisco,” I told the girl who bought them.
“That makes them so much cooler.”
Knowing she knew where they were from was the difference between selling them and donating them. It’s not about the money but letting people know they’re buying a little piece of history.