Monday, June 21, 2004

Laurel Park, the neat converted-summer-homes/former-Christian-camp housing development a little ways out of town, had a big tag sale going on Saturday morning, so I stopped by. The tag sale in the common house wasn't very inspiring, but about 8 of the little houses nearby were having their own sales. It was great to have a reason to just wander around. The houses are all slightly smaller than what you'd imagine a house to be, and most of them are very close to their neighbors, and so people have gotten creative with their gardens and with making the most of their space. They run the place like a co-op with monthly fees and community events.

One of the people holding a tag sale was a woman, she couldn't have been more than forty, with a ridiculous bouffant wig on her head. It was obviously fake. She looked like an early Loretta Lynn. And it didn't go along at all with her casual clothes and lack of makeup. The stuff she was selling was cool - some neat old books, just like the ones I collect, and some old wooden toys, among other flotsam. A shopper picked up a small red elephant pull-toy and asked how much it was. She said, "Oh, I don't know... I always have second thoughts when it comes to selling my things. I just really like old things, you know? They just have more meaning for me... Okay, let's say $5, because I don't care if I sell it." Later I bought a $1 book from the 1920s about women's sex lives, and she gave me a half-full pad of watercolor paper for free.

All right, the story's not that interesting. The point is that I could have been her, a few years down the line. A couple of years ago I contemplated buying a house in Laurel Park for $90k - a price unheard of nowadays for anything but a mobil home in this town - because, as I said, they're super charming and sweet, and perfect for one person, especially for the price. But I was too afraid I'd turn into crazy-wig lady: A single woman who spends a lot of time around her house making it all cozy and funky and interesting, while slowly getting older and lonlier and more isolated, losing touch with old friends until her only social activities are with the old ladies in the development. It is true that I do think it's just as likely that I could live there and have a ball and make it work, but the crazy-wig lady archetype is still standing there in the corner of my brain, fretting over the fate of her odd little collections. And I'm just too young to want to be her.

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