So I was driving home from work today, and I take a fairly high-traffic road that passes under a major highway. (Sorry, California — FREEway)
I see a huge sign in the back of a car parked under the overpass that says SALE.
Now, in any other city, I probably wouldn’t give it much attention. In Pittsburgh, a huge SALE sign means Granny’s selling off her moomoo collection for Bingo money. In California, it can mean anything from delicious, delicious oranges, to mattress sets, to Mexican children.
Today it meant guitars and violins.
On my initial drive-by, it looked a tiny bit sketchy, but the guys were kind of old and, well, playing violins, which everyone knows bad people don’t do.
Justin had been mentioning his loneliness for his electric guitar we had to leave in Pittsburgh, so I drove around the block to tell myself it wasn’t a complete impulse buy (that would have been stopping in the middle of the street when I first saw it and running through traffic with my wallet out.)
You people are going to become more and more afraid of my various neuroses as I divulge them on this site, but I don’t mind telling you that I was initially terrified of pulling over, not because the merchandise might be hot, but because I would likely have to talk to these people. Store shopping is bad enough with salespeople and their asking if everything’s fitting okay and barraging me with their store credit cards, but at least there I can dive into a pile of mannequins and hope to blend in or something.
As soon as I got out of the car, one of the older men asked me if I played the violin. I politely told him no and tried to make my way over to the guitars. My fears became realized when the man persisted and went on to tell me how easy the violin is and that he could teach me in under an hour.
Now, in my rational “sitting in front of the computer at home” mind, I know that he was just being a friendly salesperson, but at the time I was already mapping an escape route for if he actually tried to force me to learn the violin in under an hour.
I made my way over to the acoustics (remember — all this is just displayed out on a sidewalk) and a nicer talking-less gentleman told me the prices, pointing out two identical guitars, one that was $300 and one that was $70 or best offer.
I picked up the cheap one and just strummed a few strings to tell if it was out of tune. I can’t play anything but “Wipeout,” but I can tell if it’s tuned or not.
Well, the supersalesmen scrambled around and got me a chair so that I could strum easily and choose the guitar, when I was actually just making sure that it wasn’t made out of balsa wood.
So I sat in the chair by the side of the road and tried to look like I knew what I was doing with this guitar, and a car drove by and a guy yelled out, “Freebird!”
I laughed really loud and scared the guys into lowering the price for the crazy laughing lady.
Maybe you think people who are afraid of people are also afraid to haggle.
Maybe you are a fool.
I knew that my rational home self would be upset at my timid public self, so I got the guy down to $55.
And I’m as free as a bird now,
And this bird you cannot change.
I love this city.

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