Why did I keep an empty Visine bottle? Why do I have baby clothes? What purpose does it serve to keep splintered pieces of an old wooden table from forty years ago?
Self-examination is at a new high as I struggle to pack my belongings and move them August 3rd. (closed circuit message to all my local friends - I said AUGUST THIRD, a Wednesday, 8 AM. There will be beer) I spent Sunday afternoon fumbling through stacks of boxes and piles of litter, trying to decide if they serve a purpose.
The table to which I'm referring was made by my Grandfather, from triangular pieces of scrap 2x4 left over from the building of a house in the 60's. The legs have since fallen off, leaving nothing but the scratchy round table top, and I keep lugging it from house to house and sitting it in the dark, damp corner of my basement. I suppose the sentimental value motivates me, although I have two other pieces he made which are far superior and still quite beautiful. I think it's time for the table to... go.
That was hard to say.
I still have boxes of baby clothes, although I have no intention of siring another offspring. They are kept as a memory of my daughter's childhood... but it's not like I pull them out periodically and admire them, they haven't seen daylight in 10 years. Surely saving one favorite outfit as a reminder and taking the rest to Goodwill would be the right thing to do. Yet. The box sits in the basement collecting airborne particulate matter. This will be another tough decision.
I spied a big blue suitcase in the corner, pulled it out and reacquainted myself with it's contents. Inside, among other things, were my Grandparents wedding pictures, some of my Grandmother's old jewelry, newspaper clippings from the 1940's, a photo album of my Grandfather's years in the Army at Pearl Harbor, (yes, he was there on December 7, 1941) and a flag with 48 stars. Lying sprawled on the cold basement floor, I was overcome with emotion going through that old suitcase. After having a good cry, I carefully resealed it for another few years.
Then there are the two "marriage" boxes. Pictures, keepsakes, memorabilia from each failed partnership. I suppose keeping them is a way of telling myself those years weren't a waste. The thought of adding a THIRD box is more depressing than I can tell you, so I'll move on to...
The "junk drawer." Or should I say drawers. Full of things I thought I would need, the most puzzling item was an empty Visine bottle. I guess perhaps I fantasized I could fill it with something else and use it again. Fifty pens, twelve tweezers and other personal grooming devices, receipts, batteries, paper clips, change, a live marmoset (just seeing if you were paying attention), four kinds of tape, remote controls, FIVE old cell phones, a garage door opener I thought I'd lost...
Wow, I can't believe how much shit I've accumulated. This has been a real eye-opener.
Why do we do this to ourselves? I'm not nearly the worst example, some people are addicted to collecting "things." In fact, I know a lady who drives from yard sale to garage sale to rummage sale, buying crap she doesn't need and storing it in space she doesn't have. It's not enough for her to collect her own stuff, she collects other people's junk too.
So ENOUGH of the pack-rat syndrome, I'm turning over a new leaf. I believe I will rent one of those dumpsters, park it in the driveway for a week and purge. If I haven't used it in the past five years, it GOES. I can likely reduce the overall mass of my worldly possessions by half.
Anyone need a legless wooden table?