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Tuesday, 12.30.04: Priceless Throwaways

I've been meaning to post some more eBay auctions since summer. It was a mistake to pause after my set of auctions in June-July because with eBay momentum is everything. If I haven't done an auction in months, my well-oiled mental machinery goes cold. I haven't quite forgotten how to do it, but my once-smooth work processes have rusted. Or let's say it feels like I have let my steel manufacturing plant go dark and I have to spend a week stoking up the smelters.

I hate being inefficient. (For example, my sister K and I both agree that that trousers, underpants, and socks must be pulled off in a single smooth motion, even if this does mean that, on occasion and in public, you will find yesterday's underwear hiding above the knee of your jeans.)

If you are an inefficient eBay seller, "another day, another dollar" might as well be your slogan because that will be the rate of return on your investment in time.

One of my issues is that I want to sell off the bottom -- get rid of the crap that takes up precious shelf space. Therefore my quest for efficiency is combined with angst over whether it is really worth it to bother. I'm looking at a set of old postcards that Jim put into a "give these away" bag more than a decade ago. They have to go.

But my cleaning up impulse is balanced by my conservation impulse. I sat for a couple hours sorting them out -- birthday greetings, Easter greetings, Detroit views -- and fell in love with them. In bulk, they are mulch material but individually, they are little treasures. I like the ones that have messages on them, tiny glimpses of a life. I pulled this one out at random, written on the back of a sentimental Easter greeting:

West, Card rec'd, glad you got home O.K. Was glad you came & thanks for the things. No paper yet, so a card will have to do. Yes, some storm. Ham & eggs for next Sun I guess. No work yet, maybe soon now, soon as weather gets better. No more this time. Good Bye. Coral [sent from Auburn NY to Weston Rowe in Macedon Center NY, March 21, 1937]

I start thinking about this person -- a woman enduring the Great Depression, keeping in touch with her friend or her brother. That's when my efficiency goes to hell and I start thinking about the priceless nature of throwaways.