Saturday, March 17, 2012

The joys of letting go


For the first time in my life, I participated in a community flea market sale. How fun was that?

First, I got to clean out my closets and get rid of a lot of physical and also mental clutter. Aaahhh. The great joys of letting go of stuff. Then, I also got to do my bit for the world, by helping continue recycling efforts even in some small way.

Instead of throwing out stuff I didn't want and need, I passed them on to other people who needed or wanted these things more than I did. The stuff got saved from being thrown into the sea or into a landfill as unrecyclable garbage, and I've made some people a little happier in the process. And, oh yes, I got a bit of spending money for my efforts.


LUCKY IN TIME

The community sale was supposed to begin at 8 AM today. As I had a pretty late night yesterday, turning in way past 1 AM, I wasn't hopeful that I was going to wake up in time to get to the venue and set-up everything. "I'll set up whenever I manage to do it," I told myself. "If I wake up early, then great. If I wake up at 11 AM, then I'll have my stuff set up by noon. Whatever."

By some stroke of luck, I was up and about by 630 AM and -- with the help of my household staff -- I was ready to sell by 8 AM. I was expecting a trickle of people at opening time and the rest at about 10 AM after a lazy breakfast; so I was unprepared for the deluge of people who arrived just after 8 AM for first dibs on goods.

ATTRACTIONS OF OUR FLEA MARKET


Why would so many people wake up so early to be at a yard sale? Some of the people who participated today tried to analyze it. We figured that visitors were expecting some pretty good stuff at reasonable prices since the community flea market was organized by quite a nice community composed of people who've never really participated in a sale before. Many people were selling stuff that had been in their closets or store rooms for years.

And no one was really thinking about making lots of money -- it was more about getting rid of some baggage, making more space at home and passing on unneeded stuff to the next persons.

WAITING FOR FIRST DIBS

I think lots of buyers knew that, and this is why there were many enthusiastic buyers waiting for first dibs when the sale officially opened. All of us who had set up our tables early had our hands full making sales. By 9 AM I'd sold almost half of what I'd initially brought with me.


"Wow, this is actually fun and liberating. I've got to go home and get more stuff to sell," I told myself. When you get into this sales fever, it's so not about the actual sale anymore but the momentum of unloading stuff. It feels so good to empty closets of stuff you haven't used or even seen in a while.

HIT BY THE SALES FEVER

So mid-morning, I went home again to look through my closets for more stuff I didn't need. And even for stuff that I needed but didn't mind selling anyway. All I suddenly wanted to do was empty my house. And for a first-time community flea market participant, I must say that I did very well. I think I sold 70% of everything I brought. My house is now ready for new stuff.

On the way out, I saw one of my good friends, who had also sold a lot of stuff. The flea market had actually been her idea from last year. I said to her: "This is a great idea. Let's organize this every six months." She laughed at me and said: "I can't believe you. One day you're having dinner with ambassadors, and the next day you're getting down and dirty at a white elephant sale."


THIS IS WHAT SCRUFFY LOOKS LIKE

It was true. This was the scruffiest I'd ever seen myself in, in a long time. I'd been going through closets, going back and forth between my house and then venue, and then selling stuff or looking at other people's stuff all day. And now it was about 430 PM.

I smiled back. What I didn't tell her was that I had exactly 30 minutes left to get out of my scruffy clothes, shower and get myself into a formal long gown with jewelry, makeup and all, and head to Sofitel for the very fancy 40th anniversary dinner of the Chaine des Rotisseurs gourmet society.

The multi-course Chaine dinner tonight was very elegant, with about 100 waiters attending to the 100 guests, all dressed in long gowns, black tie or barong. There were many photographers, and the Chaine members all smiled happily for the cameras -- including me. Who would've thought that I'd been on my hands and knees at a white elephant sale just awhile earlier? And that's my rags-to-long gown story for today. More on the Chaine dinner tomorrow as I'm completely exhausted now. Good night.

ON SALE EVERYWHERE NOW

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