We think the junk in our garage breeds. There's no other explanation for how it gets filled up every six months. We have no memory of putting anything in there.

This isn't good stuff. I'm talking real, actual junk. Like, things no one would have ever purchased for any reason. Things we have no recollection of ever acquiring. Valueless stuff that we can't even imagine someone intentionally created. Like CVS footbaths and Transformers sequels.

We never know what to do with these things, but we periodically spend a Saturday pruning the detritus. You see, our garage is small—too small in fact to fit a modern car. It was built during the last Ice Age. It's older than clothes and poodle mixes.

Since we can't park a car in the garage, it is instead used as something of a "last chance" storage receptacle. We have a room in our house that functions as a middle man between the garage and the living room. It's the space we put objects we aren't regularly using anymore. Skylar likes to call this place "The Room of Forgotten Hobbies" when he wants to hurt my feelings. This is a reference to the piano I don't play, the guitar I don't play, the harmonica I never played, and the ukulele that is now so out of tune if you strum it three times in a row it summons the dead.

But apart from the forgotten hobbies, this room is also where we put furniture I purchased before I met Skylar, which furniture he hates and has convinced me to move out of the living room. Normally he wants to sell this stuff and get it out of the house and normally I think he's 100% correct but I don't tell him that for I am a stubborn man who loves conflict.

So I insist we move it into the Room of Forgotten Hobbies where there is absolutely not enough space for it. Then it sits in there for one to five years until finally Skylar wears me down enough to haul it out to the garage where there is not enough space for it. Then it sits in there for one to five years until Skylar wears me down enough to sell it on Facebook Marketplace, where he spends one to five days communicating with the dumbest people in our town until someone comes in a car that isn't big enough to fit the furniture and offers to pay 10% of the asking price before somehow hauling it away.

Skylar has suggested that marital counseling or perhaps medication could eliminate at least some of those steps but I'm not interested in doing things.

That's what happens with the furniture that's nice enough to sell.

There's a whole other process for the actual junk I referenced at the beginning of this post, back when you were naive enough to think there might be a point at the end of a cohesive narrative in all of this.

When it comes to actual junk—the stuff we have no memory of acquiring—we let it just sit in the garage for several years. Skylar will suggest we throw it out. I push back on this because I don't like getting rid of things before I know what they are. Also, our garbage bin can only fit like two adult diapers and a corn cob so I'm not really sure what to do with it other than leave it in the garage.

Eventually, though, the garage will become so full I have no choice but to agree to remove some of the items.

There is a thing that happens every time we do this that is so baffling to me that I genuinely think I might be living in a simulation. I'm not being hyperbolic here. You know I would never be hyperbolic. I really, truly believe I'm living in a simulation of some kind. One where the programmer hates me enough to still make me experience the occasional hip pain and trip to Costco.

Because we don't have an easy way to dispose of large items, Skylar will suggest we simply set it on the curb in front of our house. Every single time he says we should do this, I tell him I think it's a bad idea because then the garbage will have gone from out of sight/out of mind to a public display that would sit there in perpetuity. And then our neighbors will think we are trashy and they'll stop inviting us to the parties they already don't invite us to.

But Skylar, apparent man of faith and youthful optimism, is always certain someone will immediately come by and pick it up.

And this is where we get to the simulation part: we have done this at least twenty times over the years and we have never had any item whatsoever sit out in front of our house for more than 45 minutes. Someone always immediately comes and picks it up. Uninvited. Unsolicited. Always.

And, no. We aren't placing gold bars or sexy underwear on the curb. I'm talking true junk.

The first time we did this was with a broken twin-sized box spring with water damage. It was picked up within six minutes. Why? Who grabbed it? I don't know. I didn't see them. By the time I walked back inside and watered one plant, I looked out the window and it was gone.

And so, on Saturday, I should have had no reason to argue with Skylar when he suggested we place three items on the street. These items included a broken, sloppily constructed six-hundred pound wooden bench(?), a bulky and completely rusted over broken pot holder of sorts, and a very large and broken cabinet made out of damaged plywood.

The cabinet was so heavy that moving it to the curb caused us both to say things we can never take back.

Within twelve minutes I watched a woman with the strength of a thousand men shoving the bench (that absolutely did not fit) into the back of her Prius. She noticed me just as she began jamming the potholder (that absolutely did not fit) into her trunk. She was wearing flip-flops and a prairie dress. "Sorry," she shouted at me. "I assume this is all free?"

I thanked her for taking this stuff. Ten seconds later she drove away, both items hanging out of her vehicle, which was leaning to one side. She couldn't have looked happier.

"I don't get it," I told Skylar as I walked back to the garage where he was swearing profusely because that's what we do when we clean. "I know one man's trash is another man's treasure, but how is it possible that the latter man always shows up so quickly?"

The cabinet was gone ten minutes after that. We didn't even see anyone pick it up.

It's unsettling in a way I can't really explain. Why are these people so intent on raiding what I'm trying to discard? Am I wasteful? Did I not understand how valuable these things were? Am I hallucinating all of this?

I don't know the answers to these questions. And I'm not sure I'll have any better grasp on this the next time the junk in my garage finishes breeding and Skylar beckons me to kill another Saturday dealing with it.

~It Just Gets Stranger