the first time you saw the sign – you mis-read it,
grot sale you thought, even said out loud – admiring the honesty of the advertiser and then you realized that the word was not grot but garage and ever since you have wanted to go there, to meet the person who has so embraced phonetic spelling, to rummage in boxes, run your fingers over mis-matched crockery, flick through piles of cracked CD’s, dusty videos. Somehow, you don’t think that there will be many books on sale.
Then you catch yourself, smug, clever, clever, middle class book boy and
you feel suddenly ashamed. You have tweeted this non news , photographed the little hand written sign, posted it as your status for the day, mentioned it in e-mails to all the other clever, clever book boys you know.
Just for a second, actually a mini-second, you wonder would it be OK to go to the address and offer to correct the
And from no-where, your grandmothers’ remembered voice, sharp as a slap, halts you in your tracks, actually stops you walking and you have to shake your head as if to dislodge the ringing in your ears that followed her hand, that followed her pronouncements.
You swallow hard and walk on.
She borrows a pen from her neighbor and finds a sheet of pink paper – bright, eye catching, just the job. The paper came through the door, she thinks it is advertising for double glazing or something to do with windows – there is a photo of a window on one side – but the other side is blank. It will make a good poster.
Sitting at the table, she holds the pencil firmly, presses down on the paper, pauses and thinks about the words she needs to write.
The address is not a problem, she can copy that from her bus pass, but there are two other words .
She remembers the voice from school
“sound out the letters, nice and slowly”
She takes a deep breath and does it.
She is pleased, has even remembered the full stop and all the words have fitted onto the piece of paper.
When she goes to walk the dog, she will take the poster, her poster and put it up where lots of people can see it.
People in this country are wasteful, they get rid of things before they are used up. They buy things they don’t need, forget about them and seem to be embarrassed when they discover them months, years later, still in boxes, unused but lacking the shine of newness.
Once something is old, it seems to have no value, heaped outside their houses on a Sunday afternoon. I walk the neighborhood, eyes peeled . I have no shame and why should I?
I wish my room was bigger, I would fill it with shoes worn once, unopened books, kitchen appliances still in their boxes, dried flowers, handbags, scarves. Sometimes i feel almost drunk with the pleasure of possessions, the weight of ownership, the joy of counting.
11 pairs of shoes
6 pairs of jeans
3 cookie jars
whenever I feel lonely, I line them up, shoes, spoons, the rest – companions.
The sign is small, but the paper is a vivid pink – catches my eye.
At first, I cannot understand it – the words make no sense and then I get it, sound out the letters carefully.
I check the address, near enough to walk.
i wonder what i will find.