Thursday, August 30, 2012
the assemblage of treasure and scrap
Yesterday I bought two books to help me navigate the chaos and clutter in my immediate midst. One book I gave to my husband (also moderately afflicted with the handicap), and the other, well, as you can see it's sitting under my mug of coffee (I know it looks like wine, but, I pinky-dog swear, it really is coffee). The problem is, I don't know where to start. I get all anxious and paralysis sets in, and then I start to hyperventilate. Sounds like a Hoarders case, yes?
I want to, you know, "space clear." Get rid of the bad, stagnant energy and whatnot. Shred useless, outdated documents. Restore my chi. (Or is it qi--I guess I need to excavate the fucking book and find out.)
For the past few months, when not trotting around Europe, we've been in that semi-homeless limbo known as remodeling hell. Our kitchen, dining room and living room -- the central thoroughfare of our lives -- have been off-limits. I've been brewing coffee next to the toilet. Washing dishes in the laundry slop sink. Chopping tomatoes and buttering toast on the dryer. I don't know about you, but when the food part of my routine goes awry for any length of time, it becomes this systemic hell. It's a Maslow thing, right? Food is pretty essential. Consequently, my chi (or qi) is out of whack.
The remodel is just about finished now, and all this week I've been peeking in the bins and boxes I packed up in early June. I've been trying to sort stuff; move the essentials back into their drawers. Which sounds simple and glorious, right? I get to put my kitchen back together! Use a proper cutting board on a solid surface. Alas, would that it were so. This afternoon I stood in front of two Rubbermaid bins completely paralyzed with options. Should I put that grater in the Goodwill box? Or maybe it should be ferried back upstairs to the kitchen and be placed a drawer that I've yet to earmark for such a tool. Or, perhaps I should toss it into the bin for tomorrow's yard sale? Well, that depends on how many graters we actually have. I mean, is this the grater from Kirk's VW camper? Is it our extra grater? And don't we use a Cusinart for grating these days? You'd think I was a husband from the 50's faced with a dead wife and no history of performing simple kitchen tasks.
The anti-clutter book I gave Kirk had this tagline commanding the reader to throw away 50 things. Would this grater be one of the 50 things? Should it be? Okay, move on to the turkey lacing skewers. Hm. And like that. All day long.
I really wish I was a pot-smoker. I think I could probably blaze this conundrum into the vapors of "whatever."
The darker issue here is this fear that my affliction -- the glacial pace with which I attend these sorts of chores -- is only going to become more pronounced as I age. Perhaps I am staring into my future, when I will one day hold a toothbrush in one hand, toothpaste in the other, and try to recall how they go together, and what to do with them once they're joined.
The problem is, of course, we simply have too much crap, us blended boomers. Crates and barrels and bins of sentimental detritus that we should clearly jettison. Or hire someone to jettison for us, lest we get sucked into the nostalgia of things such as a child's kindergarten masterpiece or a Mother's Day ashtray made sixteen years ago (maybe I will take up pot smoking after all! Let's save it, just in case!)
How about you? Are you as organized as a German engineer, or are you headed for your own starring role Hoarders?