Thursday, August 05, 2010

Random Life Lesson
Things I Have Learned at Garage Sales

I'm one of these people who has a lot of books, and who consciously or not has imagined an audience (possibly with a close resemblance to God) browsing through my collection and approving: this is clearly a deep collection, the collection of a reader and a thinker. Freud meets Marx, the desire taking material form.

Except, and this is something I realized this weekend while helping a good friend at a garage sale: there is no Cosmic Librarian Accounting at the end. Eventually, I won't be here to read my books, and most likely they will be thrown out, the bulk of them, once my near and dear pick out a few titles. Because the book table was the least visited table of all at the garage sale. Three separate people asked me how much the bottle of WD-40 went for (it wasn't for sale; we were using it); people asked to buy the plastic cups (also for our use, not for sale). Kant, on the other hand, was a drug on the market.

What was sort of nice was that people kept asking, "Who lived here?" The very miscellaneous and interesting collection of artifacts bespoke people who had lives of the mind, who valued art and science and literature (and math and philosophy and history, and LOTS and LOTS of science). And I was glad that people recognized that, at the same time that, since I have some anal-retentive cultural-capital hoarding tendencies myself, how beside the point, finally, the acquisition is.

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