The auctioneer rang off the figures like some experienced rap artist at a variety show ‘P500, do I hear P700, P800 there, P800, P800 is that a bid P1, 200, P1, 600, P1, 600’ and on and on it went until an innocent looking lot that started off at P400 had climbed to P2, 000.
The old dusty sofa set which looked like a buffalo with a horrible skin disease had now quickly morphed into some sort of masterpiece and a crowd of hoodwinked hoarders were furiously trying to outbid each other for it.
Amongst the lot was my dad, the champion of hoarders. He beat everybody and the lumpy skin buffalo was going to my house. My dad felt like a thief in the night. He called it a steal but for me, a bewildered teen, it remained a buffalo. I had the unenviable task of loading the sofa onto the bakkie, a very embarrassing moment. On the embarrassment scale it would top arguing with a food vendor about how small the food portion on the foam pack is and then finding your crush waiting for her turn right behind you with an irritated face.
Along the way he waxed lyrical about how beautiful these were and only needed covers to jazz them up then they would make their way into our living room. I dreaded the day that would happen. I I could not share his enthusiasm. I wanted nothing to do with them but there was a problem, I was staying in his house.
My friend, who is the last known relic of Savageland aptly described auctions in this way ‘Government departments procure staff that they use and then throw in their yards after their utility is exhausted. After a few rains, snowstorms, hailstorms and sandstorms they are put up for auction. The public comes and collects the trash, then pay the government department in question to now take care of the trash.’
Dad had built up a nice stash of used stuff in the guest wing meaning that guests now could not stay overnight. The sofa set joined three air-conditioning units, another set of battered sofas, cupboards that were destined for the village, an array of sun-beaten water containers, a ladder with a more rungs missing than those that remained.
These were the items that were visible when you opened the door and were obscuring a whole lot of other items that had arrived some 5/6 years before. Dad always had some great plans for stuff that he bought even though that dissipated within a week as the love got transferred to newer acquisitions from the auction lot.
There was a wardrobe that was missing a back panel which was going to be fixed and taken to the house at the village. There were some chicken cages that were going to house layer chickens. Some 11 years later we still did not own a single chicken, perhaps because in that time there had never been chicken auctions.
The step-ladder was meant for us to use for odd jobs after fitting in the missing rungs. It got very comical when we had to borrow a ladder next door because the one we had had now disappeared deeper inside the stash-house, sorry guesthouse (dad would not like it if I called it that) as ‘new’ ones arrived.
Later on in our lives when I was married with a battalion of kids in tow (which is a good 20 years later) dad decided that sentimentality had no place in his life anymore and decided to get rid of the stuff.
He engaged my services, ThuliJay Hoarding Antidote Inc to remove all that stuff and take them to the Gamodubu landfill. The stuff that tumbled out was very interesting. A soiled teddy bear, puzzles with missing pieces, a rusty butcher’s knife, picture frames, more sofas, more water containers and more misery.
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