Every so often my wife and I will go to an estate sale. While some people go all American Pickers and try to find things that will make them rich and famous and the next show on the History Channel, we’re simply looking for fun.
For instance, I like old board games– specifically games that I’ve never heard of and that aren’t available any more. I also like old technology. I found an ’85 Sony Watchman FD-30A for $4 once. (Now I can watch TV on the go!)
Last weekend, Karin and I left the house with a dedicated purpose. An estate sale north of town she found online, showing pictures of all matter of loot like old camera equipment, mid-century furniture and a mounted deer head. She entered the address into her phone, our destination popped up on screen and we embarked on our adventure. We got lost on the way there, thanks to a disastrous combo of Apple Maps and Karin’s incredibly-organized-but-directionally-impervious left brain. While driving aimlessly through the neighborhood, we finally found a crossroads with a sign, ESTATE SALE à.
But we also found another sign, ß GARAGE SALE. Oh boy. Now what?
Committing the intersection to memory, we moved on to our original destination. We arrived at a dark ranch-style home and went about exploring the cavelike maze of halls and rooms, looking for treasures to be found. I passed a woman with a stack of games under her arm, most notably Milton Bradley’s Siege, an old castle strategy game with plastic knights. Damn, too late! Fighting the urge to grab the nearby Bakelite Motorola radio and knock her out with it, I asked her where she’d found the games and she politely directed me to the hollow where they resided. Delving deeper into the house, I found two useless items, Monopoly and Boggle. But I found a rare thing I’d never seen before: Metradoms, a hexagonal domino game based on the metric system. Nifty! Karin stumbled across some paperback tomes that sparked her interest, but that was it. Now it was on to the garage sale.
We retraced our trail, and began following the fluorescent pink GARAGE SALE signs. On our way there, we passed another ESTATE SALE sign. This was for a different estate sale.
We made it to the garage sale, where Karin investigated the rubble and detritus of a run-down storage shed. She found a ceramic bunny planter, an adorably bizarre little creature frozen in time, cursed to bear vegetation on his back for all eternity. I found a small fisheye lens that would fit my camera. Both for less than a total of 5 bucks. WHAT ELSE WILL WE FIND!!??!
We started hunting for the second estate sale, only to encounter two more signs for garage sales. Two different garage sales. Two more chances to find some awesome loot! Then, at that very moment, I realized what was happening. The quests, the search for loot, the journeying from checkpoint to checkpoint, only to get sidetracked with even more quests along the way.
THIS IS SKYRIM IN REAL LIFE.
If you haven’t played Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, you’re truly missing out on something great. It’s available really cheap now. And if you get it on PC, you can mod the hell out of it, making it an action RPG that will last you forever.
And if you haveplayed Skyrim, you should really go to an estate sale. Set your quest markers, talk to some random people and keep a sharp eye for more quests along the way. There’s a real life thrill to finding rare or one-of-a-kind loot for little coin. And there’s very little chance of getting killed by giants.