I was looking forward to this day: The signs had been posted for weeks, announcing a huge subdivision-wide garage sale, in a fairly affluent suburb near a lake where I sometimes ride my bike. Most of the homes there were built in the 70’s – and it was (until the recent crash) a stable neighborhood with a lot of aging long-time residents – half of whom thought they wanted a 10-speed during the bike boom years, only to hang them upside down in their garages because they were in the way of the station wagon, the kids toys, and especially all the lawn equipment so essential to keeping them in good stead with the Subbub’n homeowner’s association.
I had my pick-up all gassed up and ready to go – and I was there plenty early, ready to pounce on the best deals, certain, that by the end of the morning, I would have made at least three or four round trips to unload all the minty Paramounts, Raleighs, Peugeots, Bianchi’s, and Miyata tourers that I’d buy for nickels and dimes.
As each garage door was raised, I would be on hand to view the troves of cycling treasure, so long held there from prying eyes.
Then, the first door rose up– and as the morning sunlight darted in to illuminate the darkness, I saw something shining – glimmering – round and SPOKE-LIKE! - But alas, it was a nothing more than a cluster of golf club shafts, poking out of a trash barrel, flanked by two large paintings of clowns on black velvet.
As each subsequent door was opened, this horror would repeat itself again and again- and each time that something shiny and grand glimmered out of the darkness, it would instantly transmogrify itself into a grimy toaster oven, a kids toy, or a broom handle, once it came into full view of the sun.
Was it voodoo? - How could all of my expectations be so piteously dashed? I circled the sub again and again. Certainly, with so many sales, there would have to be some prize for the day’s effort – and sure enough, soon, bike-shaped objects began to appear:
- A smallish, purple Murray Mountain Bike with white knobby tires.
- A Kent 10-speed with high rise handlebars and a Bow-Kow derailleur.
- A rusting step-through women’s bike, with an extra-super-huge-jumbo saddle, shaped like toilet seat.
- A gas pipe three-speed with $100 price tag.
- Three pink and white girls bikes, with 16 and 20” wheels and multi-colored streamers.
- A “Smurfmobile”, and various wheeled Fisher Price pull toys.
I felt dejected, dismayed, and tempted to buy the Smurfmobile. To what depths had I sunk? – Clearly, there was nothing here to feed my C&V addition, so I decided to head home, to call it a day, to cry in my beer… Then, from the corner of my eye, I spied a little old man pedaling away on his newly-acquired purple Murray mountain bike, with white knobby tires.
“He actually bought that POC?” I asked myself. - But one look at the contented, joyful expression on his face made me think again: That humble Murray mountain bike was worth its weight in gold! - For in an instant, it had melted years away from him, and it let him feel the wind about his ears, and to be lost in the moment, as he went tooling happily down the block.