So what I do with my mother is watch HGTV. The fact of the matter is that my mother would be watching weather I was there or not, but when I am around watching HGTV is something I like doing with my mother (Henceforth known simplie as “The Ladie”).
So the Ladie and I are watching a show and they show you the before pictures… these poor people’s pitiful toy strewn living room with cheesy rugs and awful furniture and the people on the show are trying to find the most polite way to say “My God!? You LIVE here?” And the Ladie says, “Decorated in early garage sale.”
And it’s a point. It’s junk, clearly they know it’s junk, but they keep it. They live with it. And it demonstrates the strange relationship people have with their stuff.
I think it partiallie stems from a capitalist system. Everything has a value. “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” It’s a capitalistic principle ground into us at an earlie age. Every spring on the side of the road there will be signs, or more often simply colorful dislays of things that are just “too valuable to throw away.”
There’s the old super nintendo that only works properly if the cartridges are shimmed into place with a wedge of cardboard. There’s the baby swing whose electric swinger doesn’t work anymore, but “look you can still swing it by hand.” There’s the boxes of books and old toys that “We were saving for the grandchildren.”
When your a kid people often tell you that you don’t know the value of a dollar… and you know what. They’re right. But honestlie, who does? People only know the value of money in relation to what you can get for it. My grandpop once told me that a loaf of bread used to cost a nickle. I can’t concieve of that. You can’t even buy a piece of candy for a nickle at most stores, a nickle is almost joke money. (And if those change lobbiests get their way, someday it will be)
And Timmie showed me another website that just so clearly demonstrates how people feel about things that have value.
So you go to the free section of your local Craigslist and you can find… well any amount of crap… or junk… or trash… but maybe YOUR treasure. It’s stuff that the owner has finallie accepted that no one will ever pay for, but still has too much value to them for them to simplie throw away. So they want to pass it on…
I don’t know if it’s because we were all raised by people who lived through the depression. You finish the food on your plate… you take your clothes to good will… and you never ever ever throw anything away. Because someday, at some point… “We might need that.” “It could come in handy.” “It’s probablie important.”
That dress you wore to your friends bat mitzvah in seventh grade that still fits, even if it is out of date and not so verie flattering. Why give it away? Why throw it out? It still fits.
We’re all guiltie of it somewhere. With something. Some more than others it’s true. My grandmother has three houses, with a grandtotal of nine bedrooms, three living rooms three kitchens, five dining rooms, a study and a den. Not only are all these houses furnished, and heavilie so. They all have dishes. A complete set and then some. enough pots and pans, tables and lamps and knick knacks. And all of these houses have at least one space that’s full of… well, full of junk. Stuff that just wouldn’t fit anywhere else.
Me… I buy books. Lots of books. I won’t sell them, or give them away. I keep them. All of them. And when it comes time that a book is done for… well it’s like shooting your own dog. You know it’s your responsibilitie, but o the pain.
And maybe it’s true in the end, that if I reallie reallie needed to, I could pack my car and go with what I could carry, but it would hurt. I often cite the quote from “Stranger than Fiction” about accessorizing our lives. How our things, while not in themselves that important, become important.
How you wouldn’t be the same girl if you didn’t have a bed that was like a whole body hug. Or maybe Kimmie would be a different person if she didn’t wear that type of shoe that I cannot see without thinking “Those are Kimmie Shoes” Or what Lauren would be like without her iPod and her coffee. Or Nancy if you took away Mr. Bear. Or Timmie would be like without his tools. And even Ladie, who despite a terrific collection of stuff might be able to escape being defined by her possessions if it weren’t for the fact that I could never imagine her without a car.
It’s not that we are our things, but I think in a funnie way, our things become us.