Last Saturday I was throwing a little pity party for myself. Slumped over my laptop with the darkness of my bedroom clinging to my pyjamas, I was looking at all the tweets coming from Ottawa’s infamous Great Glebe Garage Sale. Each 140-character message summoned a fond memory from the past two years that I attended. I was brewing the finest of sadness serums.
And then I made the following decisions: I needed to get out of the house. I needed to put normal clothes on. I needed to stop feeling sorry for myself.
So, adventuring I did go.
If there is one thing I can say about myself, it’s that I’m one lucky explorer. I am drawn to fun city happenings whether I mean to be or not. And that’s quite super.
I parked my bike in one of the cute, vegetable-inspired bike racks outside of Market Square and started my morning by strolling around the gardening festival.
I smelled petunias and mint, ran my fingers along the zig-zagged edge of ridged leaves, and got a tiny red pine seedling to plant in my backyard.
What came next was a pleasant surprise.
There was a flurry of activity on a street block downtown – the section where Larch Street meets Durham at Elgin, for those of you who know Sudbury. This mystery event was the perfect remedy to my earlier sadness. It was a yard sale.
I walked up and down the one block stretch of tables at least half a dozen times, closing my eyes and pretending that it was something bigger. There was a barbeque and a kettle corn stand, a man selling a plethora of over-priced vintage do-dads at his two tables. I would have sold my soul for this old globe.
My favourite table belonged to Hannah, a grade eight student at Churchill Public School. Her table was a message in a bottle station – a display leftover from an entrepreneur fair that was held in her school’s gym. She proudly told me that she made $75 that day. I couldn’t help but buy a message in a bottle. When I was her age I had a potpourri “shop” in my neighbours shed. I used to collect wildflowers and grasses from the nearby ravine, stuff them down the neck of leftover wine bottles, and force my parents to buy them for $5 to put on display near our whirlpool. Hannah appealed the sense of whimsy and determination that I had when I was her age, and have continued to foster today. Just take my $1.50, already. (Side note: the best part of standing by Hannah’s table was watching a grown man purchase a book about dragons. Looks like someone has been watching a little too many Game of Thrones episodes..)
Then came time for me to scribble my message. I carefully selected my writing utensil from a collection of gel pens (also a former love of mine). I chose a glimmering purple ink and outlined my message in neon pink. That’s right. You want to be serious about your message? You sure as hell better write it in unicorn-themed colours.
Hannah rolled up my message around an orange pen and held it together with an elastic band she snapped off a rubber ball. In my message went. I’ll cast this one off at the end of the summer. As for my message, it wasn’t so much a note to some love of my life, but rather a personal wish involving person and place. I’ll just leave it at that.
In the end, this yard sale appealed to my every weakness. Or, more specifically, my weakness for old things that you can re-furbish in creative ways to make something new and unique.
There were gilded gold frames (four for $1)
A collection of Mason jars ($1 each)
A cute floral saucer that now holds my collection of earrings, volcanic rocks and sea shells.
And several more things that I couldn’t get. Including this teal-coloured sewing machine that was being given away for free (!!!!!!).
While I have carried many a cake on my bicycle, I thought this 20-pound machine was probably my limit. I walked away. One day I will have a beautiful collection of vintage sewing machines, though. This I promise you.
My downtown adventure ended at the Boulangerie du la Village, where I sat at the makeshift outdoor patio. I sipped my apple lavender broth and contently dunked my fresh, doughy bun into the bowl like a baby being baptized. In my ears, a schizophrenic symphony, a meshing of melodies. Across the street, two girls strummed and sang Van Morrison’s Brown Eyed Girl, with just enough twang to please the crowd. Behind me, jazzy brass runs, making me feel as though I just got lost in Woody Allen’s latest flick.
This really was the perfect morning. Moral of the blog post? Happiness comes when you least expect it – you just have to get off your chair and find it.