Monday, September 27, 2010

I don't take checks.

Saturday morning the rollergirls had a yardsale.

The rollergirls have the best yard sales ever. Our craigslist ad even says so. We don't fuck around. Our prices are cheap, and we have everything imaginable. You can find a selection of stuff at our yardsale that you only see when you have donations from 20 families, their friends, and their employers. Clothing, from lingerie to wetsuits. Random supplies from home improvements. Baby furniture from the last "9 month injury". And copious amounts of liquor in our innocuous glasses of OJ and mugs of coffee.

I didn't need anything extra in my coffee this Saturday, because I was still drunk from the night before - which had only recently come to an end. It was 6:30am and I was at that point, the line where you sit very still and think: "am I still drunk, or am I gonna start puking now?" And then you either throw up in your lap, or you feel better and you eat a lemon square or a rice krispie treat ("they taste like unicorns!" said the rollergirl who made 'em) and you sit in the sunshine and it's all good. Which I did. By 9am I was feeling alright. A little rough around the edges, but I would say I was functioning at about 75%. Not too shabby. It was, after all, a gorgeous morning, and everyone had been so lovely.

Until the asshole showed up.
You know the one.
The one who comes to a yardsale and wants to take his morning dump in your bathroom and then pay for his stuff with a check.

I have dealt with that guy many times before - every neighborhood has one, and this neighborhood, apparently, is no exception. But I was not in the right frame of mind. I did not have my entrepreneurial, up-and-at-em yard sale spirit. No, on this particular Saturday I was overtired and quickly moving from drunk to hungover. I didn't feel well and I was exhausted and sweaty. And this joker marches up with a piece of computer equipment. He asks one of the girls the price. She tells him. He asks another girl the price. She tells him a different price. And now, suddenly, everything is negotiable - after all, we don't even have set prices ! He puts down his item, says he's going to get his checkbook.

"We don't take checks sir." one of the girls calls after him.
He comes back with his checkbook.
"I'm sorry sir, we only take cash - no checks."
"Yeah, I heard you. But it's a local check."
I think he's kidding. God, I hope he's kidding.
"Sorry, cash only, but I'll hold it while you go get the cash."
"My check is good. I'll give you a check."
He's not kidding.
I look up from my Blackberry.
"No need to give us a check, we'll hold it while you go to the ATM."
"I'm not going to the ATM."
"Um. Okaaaaay......"
"I have to go change a battery. And then I'll come back. Hold it for me. I'll give you a check."
"I don't want your check." This is ridiculous.
"How about a 100 pound note?" He hands me the piece of paper, and I look at it, then back at him incredulously.
"I don't want 100 pounds. I want $10 cash."
"How about 1000 yen?" he offers, pulling that banknote out of his wallet.
"No, sir. I don't need any of that, I will happily hold this for an hour while you do what you have to do, then you can come back an-"
"This is ridiculous" he whined. "I've lived here for 22 years. How long have you lived here? It never used to be like this."

"We'd be happy to hold it sir, I told you we don't need a check to hold it. Just come back in an hour and its all good-"
"Don't say 'we'" he snarled. "These girls don't share your agenda."
"Agenda? There's no agenda, we don't take che-"
"You have an agenda. You must have just moved here. We don't do things like this here."

I waited a beat. I swallowed down all of the thoughts that were ready to come pouring out. I was representing the team. There were children present. I needed to rise above this......this..........this whatever the fuck this was. And everyone at the yardsale was quiet. Watching and listening.

So while I really wanted to say "Listen asshole, this has nothing to do with how long any of us have lived here. I don't care if you were born here. I don't care if you are decended from King Kamehameha. I'm not taking your fucking check. This isn't Macy's I don't have to hold SHIT for you. This is a yardsale. Cash only. Not a new concept. Go get some fucking cash from your "local bank" and bring it back here." I didn't say it.

Instead I said "Sir, this has nothing to do with aloha, this is a yardsale and we only take cash. We are all here volunteering our time. I am not making a dime on this sale. All proceeds are going towards our team. And our team takes cash."

"What team? What team are you raising money for?" he sneered, as if he was about to follow up with a nasty comment about how we would make sure everyone heard about this, and our team would suffer the consequences of my narrow mindedness.

Ah, but he must not know much about rollergirls. They had all had just about enough. He might not have realized it, but he was dangling dangerously close to a situation. Because these women, these rollergirls, they are more than just a team. They are like a family. The crazy redneck kind. And they don't much like having their team maligned. They slowly began to move towards the table where this argument was taking place. He may have sensed, at that moment, that he was in a very precarious position.

"This is for the Maui Rollergirls." someone called out.
"For the roller derby." said another.
"And we all have the same agenda." added the girl at the cashbox.
He looked around, suddenly aware of the many watchful eyes, the women who had stopped digging through the piles of clothes and were standing, staring, waiting.
"Ah." he said.
"That's nice." he said. "That's good. That's real good. So you'll hold this for me?"
"We sure will."
"OK. I'll be back." And he waved his checkbook in the air and sauntered down the driveway.
"What time is it?" Bo asked.
"10:05, this thing disappears. I don't care if I have to buy it myself. We hold it for one hour."
"Absolutely" "Yeah, no kidding."
A lady walked up to me with 2 tshirts in her hand and a twinkle in her eye.
"That'll be 50 cents ma'am." I said.
She grinned. "Will you take a check?"

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