A morning at the car boot sale is not my idea of fun. In fact, it’s pretty much my idea of hell. I’ve ‘done’ three or four car boot sales over the years and come home £60 richer with my soul pretty much destroyed and half of my
crap possessions still in the boot to take to the charity shop. I have NEVER wandered around a car boot sale for the ‘fun’ of it. I know lots of people love it, but I can’t see any enjoyment whatsoever in rifling through other people’s tat and asking if they can knock 10p off it.
But on Remembrance Sunday, my eldest wanted to go to the church service with Scouts instead of rugby, which gave him some extra time he doesn’t usually have. And he asked to go to the car boot sale. My son shares none of my prejudices – he really likes the car boot sale.
He’s at an awkward age where a lot of the time he wants to do nothing and some of the time he wants to do things which are totally unreasonable and inappropriate. Either totally unreasonable and inappropriate full stop or unreasonable and inappropriate at that particular time – because we have other priorities at that time. But, where possible, I do try to accommodate his wishes. I don’t want him to grow up feeling I was the mum who always said ‘no’. A trip to the car boot sale was inconvenient, but actually there was no genuine reason why we couldn’t go. So I agreed.
It was just the two of us, which is rare in itself. We didn’t have the car, so we cycled. It was a beautiful, sunny morning and a very pleasant ride – if a bit of a struggle uphill on a bike with broken gears.
The car boot sale was every bit as bad as I’d imagined – complete and utter tat as far as the eye could see. I swear I could even smell the tat. I could certainly smell fried donuts and pork sandwiches, which I don’t like the smell of at the best of times. Bleurgh.
The clientele of the car boot sale was – genuinely poor people who need to shop there, people out to con others into giving stuff away for approximately 10p, chavs, Brummies (where did they all come from?!) and Eastern European people. I fall into none of those categories and absolutely did not want to be there.
But then I realised something. My son was happy.
This was genuine, quality time with him. He was doing what he wanted to do and, by being there with him, I was supporting him and was a part of making him happy. He didn’t talk much, but that didn’t matter, that’s not what he does. My younger son would have given me a non-stop monologue about Minecraft or the plot of the latest Percy Jackson he’s reading. My daughter would have given me chapter and verse on what happened in Maths last week, but my eldest is just happy to be on his own with some adult company.
He is confident talking to adults and went from stall to stall in search of DVDs – asking for the titles he wanted and for advice on good films. I didn’t interrupt – I just left him to it.
This was a completely different boy from the boy who had spent the previous day lolling around the house in front of the television and refusing to get dressed until 11am. This was the boy who is there underneath all the layers of ‘teenager’ – a son to be proud of. A son we don’t see enough of because he’s always too busy fighting his brother and sister for attention.
Once he’d got his DVDs, we got on our bikes and rode home again.
Who knew a trip to the car boot sale could be so priceless?