Well, I decided to spend this weekend going to various thrift stores and shopping for cool stuff, and I was really quite amazed at the stuff I found! For some reason, going through other peoples stuff is an enjoyable way to spend your day, especially if you find things that you didn't know until just now that you couldn't live without!
For instance, whose desk would not be complete without a re-creation of Galileo's water thermometer or a small globe that shows all of the constellations in the night sky rather than surface details of the Earth? 6 little 3/4 ounce airtight jars for my MMJ? 750 ml glass bottles complete with stoppers for my mead-brewing projects? A 1 pound zip-lok bag full of Zippo lighters? A pewter cup for my Alter and a 12 gallon cast iron kettle?
The list goes on and on, but as you can tell, these things are priceless. For the life of me, I can't understand why people throw this stuff away! One man's junk is another man's treasure, I guess.
Along the way, I saw some things that made me think, too. I saw many, many picture frames that still had pictures of people and families in them. I thought to myself "what levels have you fallen to, that you get rid of pictures of family or loved ones". Have you lost the home to keep pictures in? Have things comes to such a pass that you don't even care enough about the people to take their pictures out of the frames before you get rid of them?
I saw pieces of furniture that were obviously repaired by their owners carefully, only to end up in the second-hand store, and I wondered what must have happened. The previous owner must have cared about their stuff, only to lose it in the end.
I saw brand-new clothes, some with the label still on them, and wondered what it must be like to have so much that you have to give it away because you can't wear it all.
I guess what I really saw was a store full of the broken and shattered dreams of other people. People who, for the most part, had to sell their possessions to survive another day. But then I took another look, and I realized that you can see things differently, as well. I also saw people who refused to say no, and refused to accept their lot blindly. I saw people who were on there way up, rather than on their way down. I saw foreigners digging through our cast-offs and junk, and thinking that they would never find such good stuff like this in their country and wondering why Americans toss such good stuff away.
It made me think that, just maybe, I don't have it so bad after all. After all, I can get into my personal privately owned automobile, drive anywhere I want to, stop anywhere I want to, do whatever I want to, whenever I want to. And I don't have to account to anyone in order to do it! I can get into my car, drive to the store, and buy other peoples dreams and never give it a thought. Maybe I have it too good, maybe a little of going without is good for the soul.
I can comfort myself by thinking that perhaps my money will go to help those who really need it I guess, but those folks got paid when they sold their stuff. All I know is that this time, I came up. I got the cool stuff and, while I might feel sorry for those who had to sell it, I'll give it a good home for them.
I can only wish that, in the past when I had to sell my stuff, someone did the same for me.