August 19, 2016
For those who came in late:
After the Big Bang, stellar matter whirled and coalesced into the plant we know as Earth. It cooled and life formed. Dinosaurs flourished and died, the human race evolved, and eventually Saarah and I decided to sell some things at a local flea market. This turned out to be a bad idea.
It was hot and the sun beat down on us from not just above but, somehow, from behind as well. No matter what we had for sale, we were offered one dollar. If these same people showed up at Sotheby’s they’d offer a buck for a Fabergé egg. The only thing they’d pay over a dollar for might be ransom, but I doubt it. We sold little, I had my share of misadventures, and ROTNAC took me into his confidence. I still don’t know why. I had the opportunity to buy as many Bobby Darin vinyl LP’s as I wanted and believe it or not, still that didn’t make the day worthwhile.
They only people who had any kind of a good day were two little girls who made a play fort under an empty table. I briefly considered joining their tea party because at least they were in the shade, but a grown man crawling under a table to be with two little girls tends to look bad.
Finally, it was time to pack up. The market was scheduled to close at 4 but by noon tables were beginning to pack up and little by little vendors were going home, so by 2 it was already half empty. There weren’t that many shoppers to begin with, but when people would walk by and see it was half shut down they didn’t bother to come in at all. We decided we’d give it another half hour and depending on sales we’d decide to leave or stay.
Typical flea market customer.
There were no sales so we left.
We began to pack up and then, of course, people rushed over. “THEY’RE LEAVING? WHOA, they must have already made a fortune! Their stuff must be AWESOME! Let’s go there fast and see what we can get for a dollar!” At least that’s what I think everyone thought since we suddenly had every cheap looky-loo at our table as I packed up. And no, no one bought a thing despite making me dig stuff out of the box I had just packed for them to look at.
Saarah and I brought our things out to the sidewalk and since the car was a couple of blocks away and it was heavy, Saarah waited while I brought the car around.
This is where it all goes wrong.
As Saarah waited, I got the car. The plan was to double park for about one minute while I loaded our stuff in the back and then we’d leave. Simple.
What actually happened is that pretty much everyone else at the flea market had the same idea. (And since they were all leaving the flea market, that made it a flee market. Ha ha, that’s awful.) So when I came down the block and got to Saarah there was a huge traffic jam and no room to stop so I had to go around again. When I came back, the only spot was in front of someone’s driveway and since we were only going to be a minute that was no big deal. Oh, if only….
The driveway was a few houses down from Saarah and I didn’t want to leave it running so I shut the engine while I went for the boxes. Soon the car was loaded, Saarah and I were ready to go, and I started the car and-
I started the car and-
I started the car and-
I didn’t start the car. After three attempts nothing at all happened, not even a wheeze. The battery was totally and completely dead. It could not even power a Clinton’s cold, calculating heart. I had noticed that earlier in the day the car didn’t start right up and the battery seemed weak but I thought that it would recharge with some driving. I guess sitting around in the car letting the air conditioner run while it idled wasn’t such a good idea after all.
Well, so far this wasn’t so bad. All I’d need was a boost, I’d just make a quick call and- HONK.
HONK. Yes, it was a car in the driveway I was blocking. The driver had picked the worst possible moment (for me) to want to get out. So Saarah slid into the driver’s seat and I got out and pushed. No biggie, I’ve pushed more than a few cars in my day. I was much younger then but hey, I can do it. So I leaned against the back of the car and pushed and two things happened at once.
1- The car started rolling.
2- I tore a muscle in my left leg.
And it hurt like Hell.
I pushed the car across one of the busiest streets in Brooklyn with one leg in the air. See that, younger me? I can push a car across a busy street with one leg tied behind my back. Plus, Saarah had some trouble steering so as I pushed I also– in the busy intersection, with one leg- maneuvered to the driver’s side window and helped steer as I pushed. Yep, that’s some real man stuff right there.
The luckiest thing is that there was a parking spot right on the corner so I only had to push it straight in, no backing up.
To make a long story short, and maybe it’s too late for that, after we got a boost we went to the closest mechanic where I paid $120 for a new battery and thus, counting all the money we failed to make at the flea market, ended the day with a net loss of $120 since we managed to just break even at the flea market.*(SEE “A Note On Breaking Even” at the end of this post.) And a sunburn, since not only did we sit all day in the sun, the mechanic’s waiting area was, conveniently, a small table and a couple of chairs in the sun.
I slept in the next day.
The moral of the story? I’m not sure there is one, except maybe to never get a table at a flea market again.
* A Note on Breaking Even
At the end of the flea market, we had earned just as much money as we spent for the table, thus we left with the same amount of money we started with. That’s great if you are in Las Vegas and break even after a day at the slot machines. Most people lose more than they can afford. But that sucks if you spent a miserable day in the sun dealing with idiots and cheap morons and go home with nothing to show for it.