Uncanny jumble

On a short visit to my hometown last week I was drafted to help with a church jumble. It confirmed for me that:

– there’s so much stuff. Too many things. Kipple. I had a fond wish that eBay would redistribute all the existing things to the people who wanted them, and that then maybe we could just make fewer things, but it doesn’t seem to be working that way. So many things.

– the line between heimlich and unheimlich, homely and creepy, is really thin. The attributes that make your stuff comforting and familiar also make it unappealing to other people. Picture a jumper that belongs to someone you love – it smells of them, maybe it’s still warm from them wearing it, and it’s still got a bit of their shape to it. So heartwarming! Press it to your nose! Now imagine picking up a jumper at a jumble sale and it’s stretched and it smells of a stranger. So grim! Cast it from your person! I love re-use: I’m a charity shopper, a forager in skips, but some of the stuff I was trying to flog felt near to haunted. (I got two new tops and a tie.)

this short story I wrote is shamelessly autobiographical.


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