Christmas lights are strung on the moulding. They are plain white and don’t flash. I have a fake plastic tree in the corner. But I have seven or eight real plants in other corners. One of these plants, on the window sill, is dead. But I haven’t gotten rid of it yet. I have a porcelain green monkey holding a turnip. I have a cluttered desk. I have to dust. I have some sort of strange instrument that can’t be played. I don’t think. I have overdue bills my heart can’t pay. I have a corner-shelf filled with colored glass. None of it is useful. I have a wood and wrought iron coffee table. And matching end stand. Both haven’t been taken from me yet. Though they should be. I have a box full of blankets. And a box full of magazines. Another full of photographs. I have a suitcase record player. A coffee cup stolen from an all-night restaurant. I have tropical temperatures on the coldest of days. I have the perfect lamp for a 25-watt bulb. A dripless candle that smells ok. And I could use more light. I have a taken down the drapes. Because I like to look outside. An acoustic guitar on a stand. I’ve got only 2 photographs on the walls. But I don’t want more. This room has a lifetime full of memories. A ratty sofa that nobody really enjoys. Often open windows. Sometimes there’s a phone call from far away. “So what did you do today?” There are always shoes on the floor to trip over. Pools of my life gather in nearly every available depression. I have games. But I don’t play them often. Maybe I’ll open a jigsaw. I have a warm embrace. My ceiling has few right angles. And a fan. Which makes it nice to stare at.
On the top floor of my apartment building, in the laundry room, is a “free table”. It’s an ordinary card table of fake brown wood, pushed up against the wall. There is a sign that is taped to the wall above the table, written out in yellow highlighter on white notebook paper, it reads “free (with an arrow pointing down toward the table)”. Residents who have belongings they no longer need or want, possessions that hold old unwanted memories or unfulfilled dreams, or just plain old junk, leave them on this table for others to take. Most of the items you find on this table are useless junk. But one mans trash is another mans treasure and all that crap. What isn’t claimed by residents is then donated to the church next door or trashed (depending on its quality). I have put a half closet worth of clothes on this table over the two years that I have lived here. I have also gotten some pretty cool stuff off this table too:
I went down to Colorado Springs this weekend to visit my Grandma. She turns 91 tomorrow. We brought her a lucky bamboo plant in celebration. She normally doesn’t like us to bring any gifts for her. She believes it’s a waste of money. She doesn’t want anymore material possessions. In her eyes it’s just another thing that needs to be taken care of. As a result, she doesn’t really even appreciate them. This makes my mother angry. My mom thinks it’s more important to receive gifts as a validation of people’s appreciation of you. We brought over food from Boston Chicken. She didn’t consider this a material gift and ate it right up. I like gifts but rarely expect them. I almost always accept them.
I was born 30 years ago. My mother gave birth to me at age 25. I know this because on my 25th birthday my mom told me, “you are now half my age.” This disturbed me. It also means my grandma had my mother when she was 35. I did this math in my head on Saturday night. Thirty-five is much older than I expected. I would guess this was particularly old to be having a child during the 1940’s.
My grandma still lives by herself, in a two-story house. She takes care of all the bills. She cooks her own meals. She has a hamburger and vanilla ice-cream every Sunday. She fills her own gas. She does her own laundry. She drives herself to the doctor. The idea of her driving around makes me nervous. I think she’s too old to drive. She has a “neighbor boy” mow the lawn. She thinks he charges too much money.
My grandma was really quite during our visit. I don’t think she has a lot to say. And she is generally a very quite woman. Maybe she has trouble relating to us. She is not very social and she rarely has guests. I suspect her life is very quiet normally. Our visit was probably a little chaotic for her. It was really nice to see her again. I should call her more often, in fact, I will.
1. What is your most prized material possession?
That’s a hard one. Maybe my shoebox full of photographs. The memories contained within are irreplaceable. I also have a little black box that contains all sorts of little treasured items and reminders of past events.
2. What item, that you currently own, have you had the longest?
I own a lot of my old baby stuff like super soft hairbrushes, pacifiers, baby teeth, etc. but none of it is currently in my possession. The oldest things I have at home are some of my old t-shirts from junior high.
3. Are you a packrat?
Only with certain things: clothes, magazines, bank statements, shoes and some other stuff. But I’m getting better at trashing things I never use.
4. Do you prefer a spic-and-span clean house? Or is some clutter necessary to avoid the appearance of a museum?
I like a clean home that looks lived in.
5. Do the rooms in your house have a theme? Or is it a mixture of knick-knacks here and there?
Yeah, the theme in the kitchen is cooking, eating and food. The theme in the bathroom is hygiene, water and mirrors. The theme in the bedroom is sleeping, sex and sleeping.