Sunday, August 02, 2009

The Misanthrope and the Generous

I'm going to stray into Lee's territory here and talk about life. Life with actual people, not the written and drawn sort that I usually write about.

Last Saturday my wife and I had a small yard sale to try to rid ourselves of some odds and ends, including 4 short boxes of comics. We posted it on Craigslist and some signs around the neighborhood. No expectations of anything more than trying to remove some clutter. What I got was the poorest example of a comics collector.

This guy was a collector in the poorest sense of the word. He wasn't interested in reading any of the books. He was just looking for a rube to rip off with a valuable find purchased for near nothing. He began irking me right from the get go. For one thing, both the Craigslist post and the signs said the sale was from 8-1. This tool is at my house at 7:45. And what sort of exemplar of comicdom do I get? A middle aged white guy driving a beat up old Caravan. Stringy graying hair. Sweat pants. Slippers. The odd missing tooth and the even more random long fingernail, possibly indicative of a guitar player. Oh, and let's not forget the floppy hat to top it off. To all apppearances, a man who may never have seen a woman naked (in person) and certainly appears to have little chance of it at this point in life.

From the moment he starts looking through the boxes he's bitching about it all being junk. Then he starts bitching that the books aren't bagged and boarded. Like I'm going to waste that kind of preservation on a bunch of books I don't care about and am trying to unload cheap. I'm not a dealer, which I told him. After continually griping, he walks off back to his beater vehicle. After a little time sitting in his seat, he gets back out and asks what I'd sell an entire box for. I hadn't considered that and told him so. He says he bought a long box for $5 which had some valuable stuff. I told him I'm not going to give him an entire box for that kind of money. At that point he gave up and left.

If he'd offered up $.50 an issue for a bunch of issues, or even $.25 an issue for some issues, that'd be one thing. I was looking at $1 an issue for the most part because I didn't want to be bothered with coinage, but for a bulk purchase I'd be flexible. But this ass was just out to get something cheap that he could turn around and sell for a lot more. I doubt there was much of any value in what I had to sell, but this dork had me looking at him as someone looking to get over on me, so there wasn't much chance I was going to work with him, even if I was stuck with the same 4 boxes I started with. And I did, too. Fine. I'll pack them away and sit on them. Maybe I'll give some away to a reading program or something. Whatever. This idiot won't be getting them.

And what a bad, stereotypical example of a comics person. No social skills. Minimal personal grooming. Thinks the world owes him something. Repels females. My wife, for one, was concerned about being around the guy.

It's a good thing the weekend got better, in terms of human behavior. Sunday about 6:30 p.m. a microburst storm swept through my neighborhood, which is somewhat rural. We're on a dead end street with about 20 houses, each of which has at least 1 acre. Most houses are about 30 years old or so. Lots of older, taller trees. The storm only lasted a few minutes, but it took down a lot of trees. Power was out (and wouldn't be back until 11:00 p.m. Monday). Trees were down on power lines for all 3 road access routes to the neighborhood, so neighbors who were out when the storm hit had to park and walk through other properties to get in.

We came through unscathed, somehow. Well, we had a lot of debris in the yard, and 2 of our 4 plastic Adirondack chairs were broken, but that was it. Everyone else had at least some limbs down, and most had large limbs or entire trees down. Three of the neighbors had trees blocking their driveways. Minutes after the storm had blown on, everyone who was home at the time was out working on clearing the downed trees from the driveways. A total of 4 large trees were cut into segments by neighbors with chain saws and hauled out of the way by me and others. All told, we were out there about 2 1/2 hours clearing the trees. No one came around looking for people to get out and help. No one had to do anything. People just came out and helped.

If it weren't for the power lines that the trees on the access roads were on, we'd have cleared those out, too. As it was, it was Monday morning before one road was cleared and Monday evening before the other two access paths were cleared. BGE did a good job getting all that done. It wasn't a large section of Reisterstown and Owings Mills that was hit, but there were a lot of trees on power lines in that little area.

It was a good time for the kids, too. All the kids in the neighborhood were out. Sunday night and Monday were like days gone by, with no power for TV, internet or, after the batteries faded down, hand held games. With downed trees to play on and puddles to ride bikes through, it was a whole new experience and loads of fun for them. Not so much the puddles, but the trees. A grand adventure, as far as they were concerned, including not having power. Sunday and Monday nights we slept in the basement where it was cooler, so it was like a camping excursion or something for them.

So, my weekend went from a start with a total drag on humanity to nicely uplifting minor natural disaster reaction. In between I had the added bonus of about 5 hornet stings on my left arm when I disturbed a nest while trimming hedges. Funny that a storm that knocked out power to my house for more than 24 hours was the high point of the weekend. Go figure.

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