Garage Sailing

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        The next day was a Saturday, and most people were sleeping in. Rose wanted to, but Saturdays were important. She tumbled out of bed two hours before dawn. Shrugging into her hand-embroidered bathrobe and sticking some moccasins on her feet, she wandered out into the kitchen and mixed up some pancake mix.

        While she was waiting for the griddle on her cranky old hand-enameled stove to warm up, she looked at the painting she had on her bedroom door.  She could tell someone had spent a lot of time on it, because it had many meticulous details - but the composition was weak, and the balance of colors wrong, and the perspective off.  It was what happens when a beginner attempts to create a masterpiece.  She liked it, because she liked the sincerity and earnestness of the attempt, but she really liked the Klimt lithograph she had on the bedroom side of the door. She didn't know whether it was the most beautiful lithograph in the history of masturbation, or the most beautiful masturbation in the history of lithography, but it must surely be one or the other.

        Glancing around the kitchen, she hated all the dead televisions and radios on the shelves.  They were okay, but they sure weren't art, or even useful.  She needed to replace them.  Good utensils, well-used cookbooks, anything kitchen-themed and good, really, would do.  She wanted something different for the kitchen ceiling, too.  She had a collection of toys glued up there in an upside-down town scene, and that was pretty nice, but she couldn't use the top row of cabinets.

        She scooped pancake mix from the old mixing-bowl onto the griddle with a hand-blown glass punch ladle, then stepped outside for a few seconds to grab the newspaper. The city seemed relaxed, as though most people were still sleeping, or awake but just resting relaxed before they got up.  Now that she was rested, all the dreaming ones just seemed soothing rather than threatening or overwhelming. Smiling, she scooped up the newspaper from the step. Getting an apartment where the newspaper delivery reliably came before 5 AM on Saturdays had been a stroke of luck for her.

        Back inside, she flipped the pancakes and spread the newspaper out on the heavy old table with the ugly hand-carved legs, along with a map of San Francisco and a battered old ledger binder full of notebook paper.

        When the pancakes were finally done, she flipped them onto an ancient Winnie-the-Pooh plate.  She munched contentedly with an antique monogrammed silver fork that didn't match any other flatware she had, and planned out her route for the morning.  It was a Saturday, and Saturdays meant garage sailing.

        Rose didn't know how many people like her there were in the city, but there must be at least a couple dozen, because the competition to get to garage sales at opening time was fierce.  It hardly ever did her any good to get there a few minutes late, so she planned ahead.  She went through the want ads, marking little X's on her map along with the opening times of garage sales, and when she was done with that she put the newspaper away, took the annotated map, and opened up the ledger binder.  She was looking for garage sales that opened a half-hour to an hour apart, and were ten minutes or less from each other in order.  That would give her fifteen minutes or so to check out each one right at opening time. Eventually she found three plausible routes with five or more garage sales each.

        She had to take into account that the first leg of the trip couldn't happen until the first bus came by at six. She'd catch it, make a connection downtown, and ride another bus to get her car from the lot behind Morey's book-shop. That eliminated one of the routes from consideration, because its main attraction was a six-thirty estate sale that was just too far from the bookstore.  The other two routes had a couple of plausible crossover points, so she decided she'd just start out on the one that was closest to her car and switch if it looked like there were too many of her kind of people working it.

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