|Journal for 25-May-2003 : Sydney|
What a frenetic week it's been. As a bit if side show I organised Linda's bike's wheels completely rebuilt, as both rim walls were starting to show a rather parabolic profile suggesting a sudden catastrophic disintegration. The second most important part of our pre-tour training has also been completed: we've sold out refrigerator. (thank you Trading Post). But without a doubt the most unbelievable and at times harrowing event was yesterday's garage sale. With our living room tastefully decorated with carefully priced items of varying quality that we have accumulated over the years, we opened our home and our possessions for sale to literally anyone who just walked in off the street. Whilst there is some macabre humour in watching the demur grandmother single handedly lug away our solid timber lounge suite while Linda and I were pre-occupied servicing her 35 Cantonese speaking relatives scouring through the remainder of our ex-personal possessions (don't worry, I managed to catch her and persuade her, eventually, that I would deliver her bargain for her), the funniest episode had to be Linda's negotiations to sell our most singularly under-used item ever.
Modern households are filled with the most amazing array of useful, semi-useful and completely not useful gadgets modern science has made available to us. Like most touring cyclists Linda and I have learned, eventually, that a perfectly acceptable standard of living is achievable without sixty-seven pieces of cutlery (each), a set of electric hair curlers (for Linda's perfectly straight hair) or anything made of glomesh. There are some even more humorous items that I have neglected to mention here because it might greatly offend the people we care about deeply who decided they might make excellent Christmas gifts, such as the motorised keyboard cleaner. (This can be safely mentioned because those of you who know me, or have serviced my computer, will understand why such an item was a *very* well considered gift.) To look at the contents of a modern household is enough to make it difficult to understand how the human race ever survived for so long prior to the invention of the electric toothbrush.
Now, I readily concede that although the depravations of human life in our history prior to the gadgets of the last hundred years were indeed unthinkable, there were probably greatly offset by the benefits of owning a slave. However, in these enlightened times Linda was faced with a fellow intelligent, literate human being willing to hand over genuine, hard earned cash for the benefits of owning an electric knife. Of all the most excruciatingly pointless modern gadgets, even the worst prepared meal can be divided by a 12th century cutting implement with less effort than plugging in an electric knife, let alone finding it! However this was not a simple transaction. It may have been a matter of pride, or just an exercise in humiliating us for owning one, but our eager purchaser required a demonstration that when attached to the electricity system the blades of our wonderful device did indeed gyrate wildly in an action less likely to carve but rather shake any prospective meal into pieces. After such a convincing demonstration, or perhaps in spite of it, our purchaser skillfully negotiate a substantial discount from out ticket price, $5 down to $4. He then happily scurried away with his new prize, as if to prove the human species is not so much a crafter of tools, but a collector of odd items that occasionally (in line with the natural probability of such a happy co-incidence) turn out to be useful, or not.
<< Prev - Next >>