Monday, July 20, 2009


I've always maintained  that there are two varieties of cast-off belongings. There is "junk," and then there is "junque." The former belongs in a trash can, but the latter is recyclable, in that it can be fixed, repaired, reused, transformed, or sold to someone else, so that they can use it. Junk is quicky out of sight and out of mind, while junque tends to hang around for years and clutter up one's garage, attic, storage closets, or junque drawers. This accumulates until a person is forced to deal with it, or be pushed out of their living spaces by the accumulation.

This is where the idea of the Flea Market originated. A place where people can gather together and sell or trade their junque to one another. No, I don't pretend to know how it got that curious name – I've never yet seen anyone selling fleas at one of those things, so it appears to make no logical sense at all. I suppose someone just stuck a name on it because they had to name it something. Ya reckon?

You can spend hours and days on end wandering around a general flea market, because everything you could ever imagine is on sale there, and for rock-bottom prices. Three, four, and five buck items abound and you can half-fill a shopping cart for twenty-five or thirty dollars. Vendors, or those who sell stuff at flea markets nickle and dime you to death, but the money can accumulate very quickly, if you have stuff people are interested in. Some people make a living at this, investing in their junque at neighborhood yard sales, factory close-outs, buying up damaged goods, etc., and then reselling the stuff for a song. Not much markup here; it's the quantity you can sell that makes you the money, not big profit on each item.

Others, like Yours Truly, take a turn at vendoring in order to clean out their habitats of accumulated junque every now and then, in order to maintain enough open space in the house to turn around when you need to. This was why I found myself at a Bike Swap Meet on Saturday, selling some accumulated junque off the tailgate of my trusty Chevy pick-'em-up truck. A swap meet is another word for flea market, only it's a specific type of flea market, aimed strictly at the biker/motorcycle market. Most everything sold at one is related to motorcycling in some manner.

In two years of personalizing Miss Velvet, my beloved Harley Sportster, I had experimented quite a bit before deciding firmly on the direction I have now taken. I also had a helmet I wasn't wearing and a nice leather jacket that I shrunk out of when I lost some weight. I since bought a smaller size one, as the old one would require a set of football player's shoulder pads worn beneath it, in order to make the sleeves fit me properly. Why the makers of that clothing seem to think everyone with a larger belly is also 6' 5" tall is beyond me, but I ain't but 5' 8" and I don't have arms like a gorilla, so it has to go. However, it is in such pristine shape that it's worth a serious penny or two (and I'm not talking $5 here, either!!!)

So, accordingly, I gathered everything up (forgetting and leaving two or three things at home, naturally), paid my registration fee and drove over to the Harley shop early Saturday morning, to get my space assignment and set up my wares. Below is the first thing that greeted me, as I drove onto the lot:


I got my assignment and headed for the vendor area:

Vendor Area 1

A Few Vendors

I nosed into the space I was assigned, then got out and began arranging my meager box of items on my tailgate. I think it took me all of five minutes.


Once set up, I made my first sale, for five dollars, within just a few minutes. I sold a belt buckle -- to another vendor. Yeah, they buy from each other, too, to get merchandise to re-sell themselves. Everyone around me was still setting up and most of them had much more to offer than I did. I walked around for awhile, looking at the kinds of things that they were offering and helping them, here and there, if they asked me to.

Setting Up

Setting Up 2

One fine-looking lady, whom I judged to be somewhere in her mid-forties, kept smiling at me in a certain manner and I, of course, returned the smile, whenever I could, and glancing admiringly at her cute figure and shapely posterior from time to time. Her hubby was with her, off and on, but they didn't seem to get along too well, as they seemed to be arguing with each other when they were together. She did most all of the sales work while he just disappeared for long spells of time. I don't know where he went, and didn't care, really, because the attraction between me and his wife was obviously mutual. I didn't, of course, want to get myself involved in a marital spat, so I kept my distance and just admired her visually.

They left early, about an hour before I pulled up my own stakes and pulled out. She packed most of the stuff up, with him helping only with the heavier items. But before they left, with him already in the car, she walked past me, deliberately, I believe, and went around to the food vendor, to get her a soda. As she passed me she grinned and gave me a look that plainly said:  "Some other time, some other place, if he's not with me . . ." Now, let me tell you all that I have never been involved with a married woman before, but this one – well, I have to confess that I'd be sorely tempted!!! That's about all I can say about it, except that I'll always wonder what might have gone down on Saturday if she'd been there alone??

It ended when the rain clouds moved in overhead. The crowd had been small anyway, all morning long. It was the first sunny weekend we'd had in what seems like ages and I guess everyone was out on the lake, or up in the mountains, enjoying life and leisure. As it turned out later, it never did actually rain, but those clouds were mean-looking, just like a storm was moving in on top of us. I packed up and left after selling an amazing $23 dollars worth of stuff. I still have the helmet and jacket and another vendor told me I might have better luck selling the jacket when it gets closer to fall and cooler weather. It's probably going to be hard to sell anyway, because it's so big (size 5X), but I'll keep trying, and might even put it on Ebay, if need be.

There was another swap meet on Sunday, in another part of town, but I didn't end up going to that one. It was at Biker Rags, in the west end, but they hold those swap meets almost every month in warm weather, so I'll get down there later on toward fall and try my luck again. But I know now where to head, if I need anything motorcycle-related and want to get the absolute best price on it!


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