Garage sales unearth so much: people, things, emotions. Mine this weekend was no exception.
People: There was a wide range of humanity, a sort of Fellini’s dream parade. Super sweet women, men, children; strangers getting into arguments; a woman who told us about her trekking adventures in Nepal 40 years ago; a social anthropologist from NY; and a few squirrely people verging on scary – yes, there were those.
But there were mainly lovely, honest, chill people, like the woman who was about to buy several vinyl record albums.
Things: The last batch of my LPs. I’d had a huge collection. But recently, I started parting with the discs bit by bit. The final nail in the coffin was donating my Akai turntable to a thrift store last month. So, why hang on to the last vestiges of my 20th Century life in music? There were only about 125 left.
I took pictures of the most special albums, to be able to look back at them without taking up physical space in my life any more. And a very few I’ve kept as art items: The Judy’s, “Washarama,” obviously.
I’m glad my Mad Man Across the Water, Bridge Over Troubled Water, Talking Book, Celebrate Me Home, and Buddha and the Chocolate Box will make someone happy. Squeeze, the Police, Marshall Crenshaw, so long. Adrian Belew, be well.
So when this lovely woman, probably about 28-years old, handed me her stack, I looked through it to see who was leaving me in this bundle. And in the middle of the stack:
The lovely woman said, “You can take that back, if you want.”
Emotions: I finally felt the loss. Robin Williams was one of the few people who legitimized being who you really are. He was a testament to better living through creative expression, of living out ones creativity and being true to it.
Robin Williams’ creativity was brilliant, genius, of course. Most people don’t reach that level and aren’t as witty, funny, clever.
But. Most people are also not allowed to be, or don’t allow themselves to be. Most people are too afraid of looking/being seen as ridiculous. And those who dare to fill their lives with constant improv are seen as crazy. Most people might lack Robin Williams’ talent, but, for the most part, they also lack his bravery, and, on the other hand, the acceptance he found early on.
Robin Williams’ life was the constant, in-your-face reply to judgmental and uptight on-lookers. “I will be myself, and I will make you laugh.”
It took bravery, and it took defiance. It took a lot of energy to produce that much dynamism. “From the highest highs to the lowest lows,” is not an uncommon pairing.
He was a role model for me, and a world of others, in a career that spanned 40 years. To be brave. To be yourself. To be fearlessly creative.
And after his death that model has grown: To ask for help when you feel helpless. And to hear a cry for help, especially when the help is vital and the cry is silent.
The garage sale was a lot of work and a success in many ways. I have no regrets about the items I loved leaving me. They’re now in someone else’s hands.
At the end of the day, it’s not the stuff that you really keep, anyway. It’s the way they made you feel and the lessons you learned from them.
NOTE: If you or someone you know is in an emotional crisis, NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, can help.
NAMI HelpLine: The Information HelpLine is an information and referral service which can be reached by calling 1 (800) 950-NAMI (6264), Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.- 6 p.m., EST or by email at email@example.com